They didn’t make it easy on themselves, but Kentucky’s All-Star boys did what the last eight senior classes could not by defeating the Indiana All-Stars 111-110 in double overtime Sunday evening at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Jake Ohmer, who delighted Rupp Arena patrons during Scott High School’s surprise run to the Sweet Sixteen semifinals, led Kentucky with 30 points. The Western Kentucky University signee had seven rebounds and seven steals to help Kentucky end a 17-game losing streak in the series. Kentucky had not won since 2008.
It was the first two-overtime game in series history and the first time a game went into extra time since 1987.
“Daggone, we could’t make it easy,” Kentucky Coach Rodney Woods said. “That’s a big monkey off our back.”
Kentucky led 82-66 with eight minutes left in regulation. Indiana outscored Kentucky 30-14 over those eight minutes. Ohmer and Lawrence County’s Tim Dalton doubled-up the Hoosiers’ Jaylen Minnett on a three-point attempt that bounced off the front of the rim to end the first 40 minutes.
After exchanging free throws for most of the first overtime period, Indiana had the ball with 25.3 seconds left. Pedro Bradshaw, a Belmont signee, drew an offensive foul on UCLA signee Kris Wilkes to give Kentucky possession, but Ohmer and Bowling Green’s Terry Taylor missed shots, resulting in a second overtime.
Kentucky went ahead for good when Bardstown’s Kel Livers put back Ohmer’s missed free-throw attempt with about 1:30 left. It got the ball back with 44.1 seconds left, and Ohmer nailed two free throws after Indiana’s Mack Smith was assessed a technical foul following an out-of-bounds call. A game-tying three attempt that drew front iron was put back to pull the Hoosiers within one at the buzzer.
Paul Laurence Dunbar star and reigning Mr. Basketball Taveion Hollingsworth fouled out with 2:26 left in the first overtime. After a game-high 30 points in Saturday night’s loss in Indianapolis, the WKU signee was held to eight points on 3-for-17 shooting.
The win was all that mattered to Hollingsworth.
“It was all effort, heart,” Hollingsworth said. “They were way bigger than us, so it was just heart and effort.”
He likes running with Ohmer, his future roommate at WKU.
“We complement each other very well,” Hollingsworth said. “When one of us is off, the other one’s doin’ something. I was off now and he played great. I really liked that. … He has a bunch of heart.”
Kentucky took another blow after Bradshaw left the game with about a minute and a half left. He landed hard on his knees after tripping over an Indiana player as Livers made his go-ahead putback. Bradshaw came out of the game soon after limping back on the defensive end.
He had 16 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and drew six fouls. And he was OK after the game.
“I iced it up a little bit and started walking around, so I’ll be fine,” Bradshaw said. “Like I was telling the coaches, I’ve taken way worse falls so I’ll be all right.”
Taylor, an Austin Peay signee, had 22 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Indiana outrebounded Kentucky 65-63, but Kentucky finished with a 28-26 edge on the offensive glass. Extra chances were a big factor for Kentucky, which outscored Indiana 27-17 in second-chance opportunities and had a plus-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
The game was about even elsewhere. Indiana slightly outshot Kentucky 39.1 percent to 37.1 percent and had a slim free-throw advantage (73.7 to 73.5). Kentucky made four more three-pointers (14-for-39) than its counterparts (10-for-31).
The high level of competition was entertaining for the 1,967 fans in attendance, but if Kentucky had lost it would have been received poorly throughout the state, Woods said.
“I think our fans, the Kentucky people, it would have been, ‘You know, it’s still the same old thing.’ I don’t care if it was a good game, they would’ve felt that way,” Woods said. “There was talk last year, there were articles written that maybe the game needs to be dropped on the Kentucky side, that we’re not getting anywhere and nobody’s coming cause we’re losing. I just felt like ... we had to win one to turn this thing around. …
“We want to get this thing back to where it’s special for the kids, where they want to be there.”
Kentucky All-Star Boys 111, Indiana All-Star Boys 110 (2OT)
INDIANA — Kris Wilkes 28, Sasha Stefanovic 15, Mack Smith 23, Grant Smith 17, Michael Ertel 2, Jaylen Minnett 7, Jalen Adaway 10, Cooper Neese 4.
KENTUCKY— Taveion Hollingsworth 8, Jake Ohmer 30, DeAndre “Pedro” Bradshaw 16, Sean McNeil 6, Terry Taylor 22, Kel Livers 6, Tim Dalton 4, Lukas Burkman 2, James Baker 7, Peyton Broughton 10.