MOUNT STERLING — One-tenth of a second proved to be enough time for unbeaten and No. 6-rated Madison Central to topple No. 1 Louisville Trinity 78-77 in a wild finish in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic Saturday night in front of 3,600 fans at Montgomery County.
Quan Taylor's free throw with one-tenth of a second left was the game-winner, but how he got to the foul line was controversial.
After Madison Central tied the score 77-77 on Hunter Allen's two free throws with four seconds left, Trinity lost possession on a scramble following the inbounds play.
With one-tenth of a second on the clock, Madison Central's Domonique Hawkins, standing in front of the end of his own bench, lofted a pass toward the rim, hoping that Taylor, his high-jumping 6-foot-5 teammate, could tip in the ball.
Then came a referee's whistle. Trinity's Nathan Dieudonne was called for holding Taylor on the block.
That sent Taylor to the line for the double bonus. He missed the first free throw but rattled in the second to give his team the stunning upset. The Indians' fans flooded the court to celebrate their team's 20th consecutive victory.
Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus credited his team's never-quit spunk that rallied it from a seven-point deficit with just over two minutes left, and out of a 77-73 hole with 11 ticks remaining.
"These kids just believe they're going to find a way to win," he said.
Junior guards Dominique Hawkins (33 points) and Kenjah Bosley (28 points) were magnificent as the Indians became the first Kentucky team to beat Trinity this season.
"When you've got two really good guards in high school basketball, you can play with anybody," Feldhaus said. "Trinity's pressure didn't bother us that much because we were going north-south with the ball."
As for the last whistle that put Taylor on the line, Feldhaus said, "I won't say a word. Believe me, I've had those go against me, so we deserve to get one once in a while."
Trinity Coach Mike Szabo said his team made "some poor decisions offensively and defensively at the end to put ourselves in a situation for the referees to take it from us, so that's our fault.
"But I don't know what those (referees) were thinking. That's on them. That's just nuts to do that to kids who are trying so hard.
"That's just unfair."
Dieudonne led Trinity with 21 points. Charles Foster had 14. Troy Saxton and Darryl Hicks had 10 apiece.
Hicks hit two free throws with 11 seconds left to give the Shamrocks a 77-73 lead. But after Hawkins answered with a pair to make it 77-75, Hicks missed two foul shots. Trinity was called for a fouling Allen on the rebound, and the senior left-hander tied it with two free throws.
Szabo said he was proud of the way his team "continued to fight in a tough situation with so many fouls being called."
Trinity had 30 fouls, and Madison Central had 21. The Indians hit 27 of 35 free throws. Trinity hit 20 of 29.
Taylor hit the biggest of them all, of course. What was his state of mind when he stepped to the line?
"I was so nervous," he said. "I've never had a game-winning shot before. I'm just glad the second one went in."
And what about the whistle that went against Trinity with one-tenth of a second left?
"It was a great call," Taylor said with a smile.
Louisville TRINITY (17-3) — Dieudonne 6-13 8-11 21, Hicks 3-6 2-4 10, Foster 5-10 2-3 14, Saxton 2-4 5-7 10, Rice 1-4 0-0 3, Quick 3-10 2-2 8, Owens 3-4 1-2 7, Perito 1-1 0-0 2, Thurman 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 25-53 20-29 77.
MADISON CENTRAL (20-0) — Hawkins 11-17 9-13 33, Bosley 9-18 7-7 28, O'Bryan 0-1 2-2 2, Taylor 1-1 7-10 9, Allen 2-5 2-2 6, Stocker 0-1 0-0 0, Walker 0-1 0-0 0, Congleton 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 23-44 27-35 78.
Louisville Trinity 14 23 23 17—77
Madison Central 18 21 21 18—78