Madison Central tops Ballard for state title

Ken-Jah Bosley and Dominique Hawkins

Ken-Jah Bosley's fall-away 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining in Sunday's KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 championship game delivered Madison Central's first state title and ensured that he'll forever be linked with one of the most remarkable team runs in the history of the event.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Ken-Jah Bosley's fall-away 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining in Sunday's KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 championship game delivered Madison Central's first state title and ensured that he'll forever be linked with one of the most remarkable team runs in the history of the event.

"The Shot," as it will likely be known for generations in Richmond sports lore, capped yet another improbable run for the Indians, who battled back from 16 points down in the third quarter to defeat top-ranked Ballard 65-64.

"I knew there wasn't much time left, so there was no hesitation," said Bosley, a senior combo guard who finished with 20 points despite going through a cold stretch which saw his jumper abandon him at the Sweet 16. He had made only three of 23 attempts heading into Sunday's game.

"It was like a dream," said Bosley's backcourt mate and "Mr. Basketball" finalist, Dominique Hawkins. "It was like, did that really happen? It still can't believe it.

"It's the best shot I've ever seen in my life."

Hawkins finished with a a team-high 21 points, including seven in the decisive quarter with John Calipari and members of the Univeristy of Kentucky basketball staff watching again from courtside. He was named Sweet 16 MVP after scoring 107 points in Central's four victories. That total ranks 12th in state tourney history, moving ahead of Seneca's Mike Redd (106 in 1965) and just behind Mason County's Chris Lofton (112 in 2004).


Dominique Hawkins solidified his "Mr. Basketball" campaign by scoring a team-high 21 points in the championship game and earning MVP honors. (FOX Sports Photo by Jeff Drummond.)
The 11th Region champs also got a big performance from Quan Taylor, one of eight seniors on the team. Many of his 16 points and came when they were on the verge of being blown out. The 6-foot-4 forward with eye-popping leaping ability was also a major defensive presence for the smaller Central squad, blocking two Ballard shots and altering many others.

It marked the third time in three days that Central (32-5) rallied for victory. The Indians came back from seven down in the second quarter to defeat Covington Holmes in the quarterfinals and overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit against Hopkinsville in the semis, leaving both coaches in the championship game to ponder if they weren't preordained to cut down the nets.

"I truly believe we were a team of destiny," Central coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said. "The last three games, the way we were down and somehow found a way to win, it's amazing."

"Makes you wonder," added Ballard's Chris Renner, whose Bruins had defeated the Indians in an 88-86 shootout at the King of the Bluegrass tournament in December.

The final sequence touched off bedlam among the mostly pro-MCHS crowd of 17,315 at Rupp Arena. It began after Hawkins had driven for an uncontested lay-in with 16 seconds remaining to make it 64-62. After a timeout, Ballard's Kelan Martin overthrew his target with the in-bound pass, and it was stolen by Central's George Walker.

Walker quickly got the ball into Hawkins' hands, but the Bruins immediately double-teamed him and appeared to force a turnover when the Indians' star lost control of the ball. A fortuitous bounce, however, helped the ball find its way into Bosley's hands.

"I'll call it a pass," Hawkins said with a smile. "It was a great assist."

Destiny called. Bosley answered.


Quan Taylor posted 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocked shots for the Indians. (FOX Sports Photo by Jeff Drummond.)
"I've never felt anything like this," Bosley said. "I don't really know how to describe it. I love my team. We never quit. Ever."

Ballard had one final chance to win the game, but Quentin Snider's desperation heave from halfcourt missed the mark. He had made a similar shot to end the first half and send the Bruins into the locker room up 34-22 with a wave of momentum.

Snider, a junior point guard and University of Louisville commitment, finished with a game-high 23 points and seven assists.

Martin added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the 7th Region champs, whose season ended at 32-5 and only 2.2 seconds short of the school's fourth state title.

Ballard shot 52 percent in the first half, but saw that figure drop to 37 percent in the second. The Bruins also hurt their chances by going 10-for-20 at the free throw line. Central, meanwhile, shot 31 percent in the first half and 60 percent (12 of 20) over the final 16 minutes of action and finished the game 19 of 27 at the line.


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