High School Basketball

Boys' Sweet Sixteen: Madison Central beats Ballard for title on Bosley's late three

Madison Central's Ken-Jah Bosley hit the winning three-point basket over Ballard's Jalen Perry, left, and Ballard's Quentin Snider in the Sweet Sixteen boy's basketball championship game on Sunday.  Madison Central won, 65-64.   Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff
Madison Central's Ken-Jah Bosley hit the winning three-point basket over Ballard's Jalen Perry, left, and Ballard's Quentin Snider in the Sweet Sixteen boy's basketball championship game on Sunday. Madison Central won, 65-64. Photo by Pablo Alcala | Staff Lexington Herald-Leader

All but given up for dead, Madison Central arose.

All the way to the top, stunning Ballard 65-64 on Ken-Jah Bosley's three-point shot with five seconds left in the 96th KHSAA Boys' State Tournament title game Sunday.

"We found a way to win," Coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said after his Indians rallied from a 16-point deficit in front of a pro-Madison Central crowd of 17,315 in Rupp Arena.

Trailing 64-60 after Ballard's Quentin Snider made one of two free throws with 26.9 seconds left, Central beat the Bruins' press for a Dominique Hawkins layup.

The Indians called timeout with 15 seconds left, setting a strategy to keep the ball out of Snider's hands.

"Make somebody else catch the basketball," Feldhaus said of the plan. "We can foul them. I didn't want to foul Snider. ... Those other guys had been missing some. Then we didn't have to foul because they turned it over."

That the Bruins did, throwing the ball away to George Walker near midcourt. Walker passed to Hawkins, who then dribbled the ball off his foot but right into the hands of Bosley.

In the confusion, Bosley thought Hawkins had passed him the ball.

"I saw them turn the ball over and I saw Dominique got the ball," Bosley said. "Usually when Dominique gets the ball we run this play where he hands it off to me. So the first thing I thought was once he hands it off to me, I need to try to find a good shot. And I got separation, and as soon as I got the separation I was going to let it go, and it felt good."

His shot from the right corner so stunned the Bruins that only 2.2 seconds remained before they could call a timeout.

Snider's last-gasp shot from three-quarters-court wasn't close.

"There's always another side to the story. Obviously I'm proud of our guys for doing everything they did to get to this point, to having the lead and the chance to actually win it," Ballard Coach Chris Renner said. "... This is tough. We had the game won. Free throws was a big key. Free throws was a huge key in the second half, and we ended up 50 percent for the game. That's not going to get it done in the state championship.

"And we still had a chance. A late turnover. But it doesn't take away from my feelings that our guys are still winners. We're not losers."

Ballard finished 10-for-20 at the free-throw line, where Central went 19-for-27.

While the Indians won their first championship in their fourth trip to State, the favored Bruins finished 32-5.

Ballard won titles in 1977, '88 and '99, but has now lost five times in title games — four since 2003.

Tournament MVP Hawkins led Central (32-5) with 21 points, 10 rebounds, a steal and only one turnover while playing all 32 minutes.

"We've been down before like this, so it's not new for us," said Hawkins, a 6-foot-1 senior. "We've got such good team chemistry and we keep fighting 'til the end. ... It's so unreal."

Bosley, a 5-11 senior, finished with 20 points. Quan Taylor, a 6-4 senior, totaled 16 points and 12 rebounds.

"The team is like my brothers and I'd do anything for any of them," Taylor said. "Tonight is just like a dream come true."

Snider, a 6-1 junior who has committed to the University of Louisville, topped Ballard with 23 points and seven assists. Kelan Martin had 19 points and 12 rebounds. Lavonne Holland added 15 points.

Snider banked in a 25-foot buzzer-beater to spot Ballard a 34-22 halftime lead.

Both teams attempted 29 field goals in the half, but Ballard (15 makes) outshot Central (nine) 51.7 percent to 31.0.

That changed in the second half, when Central shot 12-for-20 (60 percent) to Ballard's 10-for-27 (37.0).

"The key was playing better defense. We played good defense but they were making tough shots in the first half," Bosley said. "We buckled down. We didn't give up on defense. We knew we were going to make some shots in the second half."

The Bruins had their biggest lead at 41-25, when Martin made a spinning shot in the lane.

"We've got eight seniors, so we've been through so much. We're a resilient bunch," Bosley said. "I was concerned because Ballard's a good team. It's not easy to come back on Ballard. But, at the same time, we've been in that situation so many times that I felt we could do it."

Central whittled the deficit to 47-41 by the end of the quarter — part of a 26-8 swing that would put the Indians ahead 51-49 on a Bosley three-pointer with 5:14 left.

Tied at 54, Ballard scored the next five points on a Holland trey and a Martin put-back. The Bruins still were up five, 63-58, when Snider dropped in two free throws with 49.5 seconds left.

"No doubts at all," said Hawkins, who hit two free throws with 32.8 seconds left. "We've done that the last two games — we've been down by 12 or more. Our team, we just fight back. We've got toughness in us and heart, and we never give up."

Ready to rise again.

Honor roll

All-tournament team: James Bolden (Holmes); Peyton Puckett (Graves Co.); Brandon Price (John Hardin); Camron Justice (Knott Co. Central); Jordan Majors, Jaqualis Matlock (Hopkinsville); Omar Prewitt, Bryan Wallace (Montgomery Co.); Lavone Holland, Quentin Snider, Kelan Martin (Ballard); Quan Taylor, Ken-Jah Bosley, Dominique Hawkins (Madison Central). MVP: Hawkins.

Larry Conley Ultimate Teammate: Hawkins. Leadership Award: Dontez Byrd (Ballard). Uncommon Excellence: Daniel Parke (Madison Central). Academic scholarships: Parke and Nicholas Conway (Fleming Co.). Ted Sanford Award: Landry Woods (Wayne Co.).

Fans at Madison Central's boys' basketball championship game against Ballard in Rupp Arena

Game photos from the championship matchup Sunday

Video replay: Watch how Madison Central won

Madison Central fans cheer team to championship

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Madison Central's Ken-Jah Bosley after his three-pointer with under five seconds left gave his team the Boys' State Tournament title with a 65-64 win over Ballard.

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Madison Central star Dominique Hawkins talks to media after his team's dramatic 65-64 win over Ballard in Boys' State Tournament final.

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Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus, Jr. talks to media on floor of Rupp Arena after his team came from 16 points down to beat Ballard 65-64 in finals of Boys' State Tournament.

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Madison Central's Quan Taylor, who had 16 points and 12 rebounds, talks about the Indians winning the state championship.

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