LOUISVILLE — March has been marvelous for Madison Central's Dominique Hawkins and Marion County's Makayla Epps. In the past few weeks they've led their teams to state titles, been named Sweet Sixteen MVPs, and been selected Gatorade players of the year in Kentucky.
Now they can add Mr. and Miss Basketball honors to their list of accomplishments.
The sponsoring Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation announced the award winners Friday night at a banquet at the Seelbach Hilton Hotel.
Hawkins said winning Mr. Basketball "wasn't on his radar" when the season began because he figured Derek Willis of Bullitt East, who signed with Kentucky in November, had it all but locked up.
"But when we got to the state (tournament), I thought I could win it," he said.
"This means the world to me. I couldn't have done it without my teammates, coaches, family and friends.
"I'm just a young guy who plays Kentucky basketball, and I win Mr. Basketball. That's crazy. That's something you dream about."
Epps said winning Miss Basketball was "the icing on the cake at the end of a great senior year. Winning the state title, being a McDonald's All-American ...
"This tops it all. This is it."
In a vote by coaches and media, Hawkins was chosen over four other finalists: Willis and Rusty Troutman of Bullitt East, Omar Prewitt of Montgomery County, and Darryl Hicks of Trinity.
Hawkins, a 6-foot-1 guard, scored a school-record 2,453 points in his career. He averaged 20 points, five rebounds and three assists this season. He averaged 27 points and nine rebounds in the Sweet Sixteen.
"If you ever had a poster child for Mr. Basketball, this would be the one," Madison Central Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said. "Dominique's a great player and a great person."
Hawkins has yet to make a college choice. He is hopeful UK will offer a scholarship, but he said he expects to make a decision after he spends next week's spring break in Florida. He has offers from South Carolina, Purdue, Western Kentucky and Morehead State, among others.
Hawkins wore a blue vest and blue tie, and had a blue pocket square. He said there was no meaning to his choice of color other than, "blue is my favorite color."
Epps was chosen Miss Basketball over four other finalists: Becca Greenwell of Owensboro Catholic, Marion County teammate Kyvin Goodin-Rogers, Larryn Brooks of Madison Central and China Dow of Louisville Christian.
Epps, the daughter of former UK player Anthony Epps, said she "thought it was 50-50, me or Becca.
"To win it is a huge honor, a blessing."
Epps, a 5-foot-11 guard, scored a school-record 3,321 points in her career. She averaged 23 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists this season in leading Marion County to a 39-0 record. The Knights became the first unbeaten state champ since Marshall County in 1984.
Marion County Coach Trent Milby said Epps "played at a high level all season, and played every game like it was her last game.
"She's the best scorer I ever coached. She scored 3,300 points, but she could've had over 4,000, but she's so unselfish and she also had a bunch of talented teammates.
"All Makayla cared about was winning."