UK Men's Basketball

UK commitment Derek Willis has double-double in buzzer-beating win

Bullitt East forward Derek Willis put up a shot over Rowan County's Matt Brown. Willis committed to Kentucky on Saturday.
Bullitt East forward Derek Willis put up a shot over Rowan County's Matt Brown. Willis committed to Kentucky on Saturday. Herald-Leader

MOUNT STERLING — Most of the 3,600 fans in Montgomery County's gym Saturday night came to see Bullitt East's 6-foot-9 junior, Derek Willis, who had committed to Kentucky on Saturday.

But Bullitt East's Trey Rakes took the spotlight at the finish by hitting a 16-foot jump shot with four seconds left to beat Rowan County 61-59 in the Joe B. Hall Prep Classic.

"I saw they were going zone and left me open," Rakes said. "I was looking to swing it, but they gave me so much room, and I knew we had to get a shot up. I was fortunate I knocked it down."

Junior guard Rusty Troutman led the Chargers with 27 points and seven rebounds.

The big crowd included UK Coach John Calipari and former coach Joe B. Hall, who sat together in the end zone.

Willis had 16 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, but he didn't shoot well (6-for-16, including 0-for-4 on three-pointers). He admitted he was pressing a bit, which Coach Troy Barr understood.

"I can't imagine he wasn't (pressing), with everything that went on (Saturday). You come down to Big Blue country, and you're going to try to prove yourself," Barr said. "But I thought he did well."

Rowan County trailed by 13 in the second half before storming back behind D.J. Townsend, who had 27 points and seven rebounds.

"He's a great player, one of the best point guards in the state," Barr said. "He's so hard to guard. He can shoot the three good and can pull up off the dribble."

Jason Egan had 13 points for the Vikings. Adam Wing, a 6-4 senior who signed with Evansville, had four points and 10 rebounds and defended Willis most of the night.

Mason County 71, Pulaski Co. 65: Tyler Black isn't showing any rust after missing Mason County's first 17 games this season.

Black, who's recovered from a football injury, had 23 points and 12 rebounds in a victory over Pendleton County Saturday night and led the Royals with 21 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots against Pulaski County.

Mason County also got a lift from sophomore Shawn Johnson and junior Steven Chambers who had 11 points each.

"We're just now putting it together," Coach Chris O'Hearn said. "We're still working at putting together a lineup and getting some chemistry. A lot of these guys haven't played with each other a whole lot."

Pulaski County was coming off a 115-98 win over Wayne County Friday night. Kody Johnson had 51 points in that shootout.

The Maroons couldn't get rolling like that against Mason County. Tyler Goins led Pulaski County with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Taylor Gover had 18 points, and Johnson added 17.

No. 14 Perry Co. Central 69, Ashland Blazer 54: Jaysean Paige, a transfer from Jamestown, N.Y., has adjusted just fine to Kentucky high school hoops. Paige had 32 points (11 above his average) and nine rebounds to lead the Commodores past Ashland.

"He's an awfully good player," Perry Central Coach Allan Hatcher said. "He's grown up a lot. He's very mature for somebody who just turned 17. He doesn't get shook. You can tell he's been through some tough basketball.

"We're sure happy we got him."

Perry Central rolled to a 41-15 halftime lead — with Paige contributing 22 — but Hatcher wasn't happy with the way his team played after that.

"We sure weren't very aggressive the second half," he said, "and (Ashland) became the aggressor, and we played not to lose."

Hatcher also bemoaned his team's 13 turnovers in the second half and overall 10-for-21 foul shooting.

"When you don't give yourself an opportunity to score on that many possessions, and when you miss free throws, you give the other team a chance to come back."

Ashland cut a 25-point deficit to 11 in the closing minutes, but the Tomcats were in too deep of a hole.

Perry Central point guard Braxton Beverly, an eighth-grader, had 12 points. Dalton Cornett, a 6-6 junior, had 12 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.

Corey Gregg led Ashland with 27 points (two above his average) and seven rebounds.

Montgomery Co. 59, Letcher Central 48: The host Indians rallied from a 26-22 halftime deficit on 61 percent shooting in the second half.

Omar Prewitt led the winners with 15 points, 13 rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists.

Jake Handshoe had nine of his 13 points in Montgomery County's second-half surge. Brandon Fruth added 12 points.

Logan Johnson's 17 points paced Letcher Central. Koree Stewart had 14 points and 14 rebounds.

BULLITT EAST (17-3) Willis 16, R.Troutman 25, Rakes 9, Caufield 7, Embry 2, E.Troutman 2.

ROWAN COUNTY (11-6) Townsend 27, Wing 4, Egan 13, Newsome 3, Thacker 6, Hodge 4, Brown 2.

Bullitt East 14 16 18 13—61

Rowan Co. 20 10 9 20—59

PULASKI CO. (15-5) Johnson 17, Gover 18, Goins 20, Blake 4, Smith 6.

MASON CO. (10-9) Hamm 10, Black 21, Chambers 11, Johnson 11, Osborne 5, Gibbs 2, Henry 8, Jackson 3.

Pulaski Co. 14 11 16 24—65

Mason Co. 18 13 19 21—71

ASHLAND BLAZER (12-9) Gregg 27, Withrow 9, Hart 10, Whetsel 6, Bush 2.

PERRY CENTRAL (16-4) Paige 32, Beverly 12, Combs 10, Cornett 12, Smith 3.

Ashland Blazer 9 6 18 21—54

Perry Central 16 25 12 16—69

LETCHER CENTRAL (10-9) — Johnson 17, Boggs 2, Gregory 9, Stewart 14, Ballou 6, Whitaker 2.

MONTGOMERY CO. (15-6) — Prewitt 15, Crisp 9, Handshoe 13, Fruth 12, Kelly 8, Jones 2.

Letcher Central 16 10 10 14—50

Montgomery Co. 10 12 20 17—59