Madison Central Beats Ballard 65-64 For Boys Title
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Ken-Jah Bosley hit a 3-pointer over two defenders with 2.2 seconds to play and Madison Central won its first Kentucky boys' Sweet 16 basketball state championship, 65-64 over Ballard on Sunday.
Bosley finished with 20 points, and his 14 in the fourth quarter kept the Indians (32-5) in the game when Ballard looked ready to pull away. Ballard's lead reached five points twice in the quarter, including after two Quentin Snider free throws with 49 seconds to play.
Snider hit 1 of 2 for the Bruins (32-5) with 26 seconds left, and Madison Central's Dominique Hawkins quickly went coast-to-coast for a layup. Out of a timeout, Ballard threw its inbounds pass away and Madison Central gained control. Hawkins mishandled a pass his way, but Bosley recovered.
"All I saw was the ball come my way, so I picked it up and found some separation," Bosley said. "I knew I had to shoot it. I was in a groove in the second half and my shot was falling, so I knew I needed to shoot it right then."
The Indians had trailed by as many as 16 points midway through the third quarter.
Hawkins, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, had 21 points and 10 rebounds Sunday. He finished the four-game playoff with 108 points, 12th highest in the tournament's 96 editions.
Ballard was seconds away from clinching its fourth state championship, but the errant inbounds pass with about 15 seconds to go from Kelan Martin - who had 19 points and 12 rebounds, his second double-double of the tournament - sailed into the wrong hands.
"You just need to say nobody needs to blame themselves or anything," Ballard coach Chris Renner said. "When you're dealing with 16-, 17-, 18-year-old kids, they're still young. It's tough on them. It's hard for them to process some of these things. He's had a great tournament and a great season, and he can't let one play or moment or a couple of moments in the state championship define him as a person or even as a player."
Ballard seemed in control in the first half, and Snider banked in a 30-foot runner as time expired in the second quarter to give the Bruins a 34-22 halftime lead. Madison Central was 9 of 29 from the floor at the break, and Ballard's physicality inside, particularly Martin's, was clearly bothering the Indians.
But in the second half, shots started falling for the Indians. Hawkins started taking the ball to the rim aggressively and drawing fouls, much like he did Saturday to bring Madison Central back from a nine-point halftime deficit in the semifinals against Hopkinsville.
Bosley was 4 of 5 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. He was also 3 of 3 from the free-throw line in the fourth.
When Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. saw the decisive play unfold, he thought the ball had gotten away and Ballard had won. But then he saw who recovered for his team: Bosley.
"He really struggled the last two games with his shot. But he stepped up there in the fourth quarter and hit some threes," Feldhaus said. "I could tell when he went up that he went up with confidence. He wanted to take that big shot because he knew what to do with it. He was just waiting for that shining moment to hit that really big one."