Kentucky’s boys were clinging to a three-point lead with about six minutes left after leading much of the way against their Ohio counterparts.
That’s when Taveion Hollingsworth, as he’s done so many times before at Paul Laurence Dunbar, took control. This year’s Mr. Basketball winner scored 10 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to seal a 94-90 decision for the Kentucky boys’ All-Stars and clinch team MVP honors.
“I had to get in my Dunbar mode and start taking over like I usually do,” Hollingsworth said with a grin. “That’s what my instinct told me to do so I did it.”
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Hollingsworth enjoyed the weekend with his teammates and the game, in which he got to compete against more height than he usually saw as a Bulldog.
“I never played against players that are over 6-11 in Lexington, so it was good,” Hollingsworth said. “It got me a little bit ready for next year cause I know it’s coming.”
Ohio’s BJ Duling, a 6-foot-7 forward headed to Kent State, had a game-high 24 points. Lynn Bowden, a 6-foot-1 guard who’s signed to play football at the University of Kentucky, finished with three points.
Princess Stewart leads Kentucky girls
Kentucky’s girls trailed much of the contest but rallied for an 82-74 win in the Kentucky-Ohio All-Star game Saturday night at Thomas More College.
Franklin County senior Princess Stewart, who’s signed with Xavier University, was named Kentucky’s MVP after scoring 18 points in the victory.
Teams got to practice on Friday and Saturday morning — not a lot of time to jell, even for a stable of the state’s most talented ladies. Nine of the 15 players on the roster have signed with Division I programs.
“The biggest thing is trying to get them to play together when most of ’em have dominated the ball no matter when they’ve played,” said Franklin County Coach Joey Thacker, an assistant with the squad along with Butler Coach Larry Just. “We had a great time.”
For Thacker and head coach Hager Easterling (the head man at East Carter), it was an opportunity to do something neither had done before: end the year with a win.
“He’s experienced winning the last game of the year with some kids,” said Easterling, pointing to Just, who’s won two state titles at Butler in the last four seasons.
Thacker, who’s lost in the finals the last two seasons, interrupted with a laugh: “I have not.”
All three men got to coach one of their own players a final time, too. Tasia Jeffries (Butler) finished with 15 points while Kristen Mayo (East Carter) chipped in five.
“I think it’s fun to getting to do it and watch them one last time interact with kids they don’t know and learn to play for a common cause,” Thacker said. “... The team we had the last two days is very much like all three of ours teams, where there’s certain pieces that know certain roles. That was good to see, that kids understood, especially down the stretch, what to do and what not to do.”
Lafayette’s Kiara Pankins, who committed to Lindsey Wilson College after the season ended, finished with six points in the game. Boyle County’s Emmie Harris, who’s going to Utah State University, had two points.
Kentucky boys 94, Ohio boys 90
OHIO — Tristan Bartoe 0, Naz Bohannon 16, Lynn Bowden 3, B.J. Duling 24, Lonnie Grayson 0, Logan Hill 2, Derek Koch 0, Evan Kuhlman 7, Joe McBride 4, Nick Muszynski 5, Tommy Schmock 12, Darryl Straughter 5, Austen Yarian 2, Will Yoakum 3, Kyle Young 6.
KENTUCKY — Prince Anosike 2, James Baker 0, Pedro Bradshaw 8, Peyton Broughton 4, Tim Dalton 16, Jaylon Hall 5, Taveion Hollingsworth 19, Tray Hollowell 5, Tony Jackson 3, Tavin Lovan 4, Jaylen Sebree 4, Terry Taylor 7, Chris Vogt 2, Cole VanHandorf 7, Trace Young 8.
Kentucky girls 82, Ohio girls 74
OHIO — Dee Bekelja 4, Maddie Blyer 3, Gabby Burris 2, Alexah Chrisman 5, Mariah Copeland 12, Haylie Crouch 4, Brelynn Hampton-Bey 12, Victoria Harrison 8, Juliauana Howard 4, Sarah Leyendecker 2, Jamari McDavid 2, Dai’Shona Polk 4, Alexis Stover 0, Caroline Taphorn 4, Leah Wingeier 10.
KENTUCKY — Zyah Beal 5, MacKenzie Coleman 3, Janiya Davis 8, Emmie Harris 2, Rosemary Jackson 4, Tasia Jeffries 15, Ally Johnson 0, Hannah Langhi 0, Kristen Mayo 5, Whitney O’Mara 4, Kiara Pankins 6, Princess Stewart 18, Jada Stinson 5, Maddie Waldrop 7, Grace White 2.