By Dick Ham
Ham on Hoops
Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., Rupp Arena was filled with more than 17,000 basketball fans. It seemed that at least three-quarters of them were Madison Central supporters.
The day began with some presentations and some announcements. Then the National Guard presented the U.S. flag and 16 young men from Covington Catholic High School sang a very beautiful and tasteful arrangement of “My Old Kentucky Home.” They followed that with a stirring and appropriate rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
They were one of the finest all-male high school groups that I have heard in many years.
Then it was time for the championship game of the 96th Kentucky Boys Basketball Championship, featuring our Madison Central Indians and the Bruins of Louisville Ballard.
To say it was an exciting game would be an understatement. Central trailed for most of the game and in the third quarter trailed by as much as 16 points.
The Indians were able to trim the lead to six by the end of the third, and then the real excitement began.
They were down by four with less than a minute remaining. Dominique Hawkins made two free throws, cutting the margin to two.
Central’s tough defense kept Ballard from scoring, and with 2.2 seconds on the clock Ken-Jah Bosley buried a three-pointer from the right corner.
With Central then up by one point, Ballard was able to get a timeout. They brought the ball inbounds and heaved a shot from mid-court that fell short.
That made our Madison County Indians Kentucky State Champions. Rupp Arena exploded with the cheers from the Madison County faithful. It was a thrill that is hard to describe.
This was another game where I was pleased to see good sportsmanship displayed by both players and coaches. The same can be said for the cheering sections and Central’s kids, cheerleaders and band members made us proud as well.
During halftime, the Seneca High School team that defeated Dunbar for the 1963 crown was recognized.
As always, people were there who love and support high school basketball, especially the KHSAA Sweet 16.
Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea, was in attendance with his two children. Don Lane, the retired basketball coach from Transylvania University, was there. I was privileged to speak briefly with Coach Lane.
Coach Roy Kidd, the coach with the most wins in the history of Eastern Kentucky University football, was there with his wife Sue.
Willie Feldhaus, the brother of Madison Central basketball coach, Allen Feldhaus, who played at Morehead State University, was there as well.
Dominique Hawkins, Ken-Jah Bosley and Quan Taylor were chosen for the All- Tournament Team. Hawkins was honored as the most valuable player for the tournament and also the KABC Larry Conley Ultimate Teammate Award.
Daniel Parke received two awards. One, the Uncommon Excellence Award, goes to the tournament player for exemplary demeanor and presence on the court. He also was presented one of two $1,000 Sweet 16 Academic Scholarships sponsored by Bob Roberts Insurance that he may use to further his education at a Kentucky college or university.
The team was given a rousing welcome when they arrived back in downtown Richmond. It is difficult to put into words the pride we have in this outstanding group of players and coaches. They have made us very proud.
I want to say thanks to the Richmond Register for allowing me to cover the excitement and color of the KHSAA Sweet 16 for the fifth year. I hope I will get to do it again next year.