LEXINGTON, Ky. – A day after Dominique Hawkins of Madison Central made a convincing pitch for his “Mr. Basketball” campaign, another finalist for the coveted award put his best foot forward in Thursday’s opening round of the KHSAA Boys Sweet 16.
Montgomery County’s Omar Prewitt scored 29 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots in leading the 10th Region champions to a hard-fought 71-63 win over Warren Central at Rupp Arena.
Prewitt, a 6-foot-6 wing, is the son of former University of Kentucky womens basketball standout Lea Wise-Prewitt. The William & Mary signee saved some of his best work for when the Indians needed it most, grabbing three rebounds, dishing out an assist and hitting a deep 3-pointer in a two-minute stretch to help turn a one-point deficit into a six-point lead with 3:53 remaining the fourth quarter.
Montgomery County (32-4) also got 17 points, four rebounds and three assists from junior guard Bryan Wallace. Backcourt mate Tyler Jones added four points, six rebounds and five assists in a solid overall effort. The Indians committed only five turnovers against the 3rd Region champions.
Warren Central (28-7) got 20 points and nine rebounds from Byron Carver and 18 points and seven rebounds from Chris Porter-Bunton. Rondell Green added eight points and 10 rebounds for the Dragons, but they were hurt by 3-for-14 shooting from 3-point range and 8-for-15 shooting at the free throw line.
JOHN HARDIN 79
FLEMING COUNTY 69
The 5th Region champions had stat-stuffing performances from almost their entire starting lineup, led by a 20-point, six-assist effort by senior guard Brandon Price.
Fleming County’s Darion Burns (10) and John Hardin’s Brandon Price battled for a loose ball in Thursday’s opening round game. (FOX Sports Photo by Jeff Drummond.)
John Hardin (29-3) also got 19 points and 12 rebounds from guard Keon Williams and 14 points and seven rebounds from forward Daveon Greene. Forward Ricky Burns added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs to hold off a determined effort from the 16th Region champs.
Fleming County (28-7) fell behind by 10 at the intermission, but played on even terms with John Hardin in the second half. The Panthers, however, could not string together enough runs to get over the hump. The lead remained in double digits until the final 87 seconds.
Rebounding played a major factor in the game with John Hardin dominating the glass 45-23 and scoring 22 second-chance points. That helped the Bulldogs overcome their lack of perimeter shooting, going 0-for-5 from 3-point range.
Junior guard Darion Burns led Fleming County with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocked shots. Brady Saunders followed with 17 points, while Troy Steward and Austin Crisp added 13 and 11, respectively.
JOHNSON CENTRAL 54
Ballard had to overcome a brilliant individual performance by Johnson Central junior forward Shane Hall, who went 10-for-11 from the field and 8-for-11 at the line en route to a game-high 28 points, but the state’s No. 1 team advanced with little resistance .
The Bruins, champions of the 7th Region, got 22 points from junior forward Kelan Martin and 16 points and five assists from junior point guard Quinten Snider, a University of Louisville commitment. Lavonne Holland added 12 points for the winners.
Ballard (30-4) used its pressure defense to force 25 turnovers leading to 26 points, helping overcome a 4-for-21 shooting night from 3-point range.
Johnson Central, champion of the 15th Region, saw its season end at 22-11.
KNOTT COUNTY CENTRAL 68
CLAY COUNTY 54
In a clash between mountain powers, the 14th Region champions had too much firepower for the tradition-rich champs out of the 13th Region.
Camron Justice, one of the state’s top sophomore players, scored a game-high 29 points, thanks in large part to the guard’s 13-for-15 night at the free throw line. The Patriots also got double-figure scoring from Simon Christon (12), Corey Short (11) and Chance Cornett (10).
Knott County Central (30-5) held a 44-33 rebounding advantage, including 10 from Cornett and nine from Justice.
Clay County (26-7) led by eight in the first quarter, but saw the game start slipping away in the second period as KCC outscored the Tigers 22-6 in that frame. The Patriots led by as many as 18 in the second half.
The Tigers got 21 points from Tyler McDaniel, but the sophomore guard’s 3-for-17 shooting performance from 3-point range was indicative of the team’s struggles. Clay County shot only 31 percent (19 of 61) from the field.
Noon ET – Madison Central vs. Covington Holmes
1:30 ET – Graves County vs. Hopkinsville
6:30 ET – Montgomery County vs. John Hardin
8:00 ET – Louisville Ballard vs. Knott County Central