By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
Madison Central’s standout senior point guard usually doesn’t show much emotion when he’s on the court.
It’s just not his style.
But, when he threw down a one-handed dunk in overtime against Holmes Friday in the quarterfinals of the KHSAA Sweet 16, Dominique Hawkins clinched his fists and let out a scream that could be heard all around Rupp Arena.
“I was just pretty excited,” Hawkins said. “I felt like that would get the fans into it if I put some emotion into it. We needed our crowd to get into it.”
After a slow start, Hawkins got going and along with senior guard Ken-Jah Bosley carried the Indians (30-5) into the semifinals of the state tournament. Hawkins had 31 points and 12 rebounds and Bosley finished with 23 points as Central defeated Holmes, 65-61, in overtime.
The Indians will take on Hopkinsville (32-4) at 7:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The winner moves into the championship game to take on either Ballard or Montgomery County on Sunday.
“It was just an unbelievable high school basketball game,” Central coach Allen Feldhaus said. “You just had two teams just flat-out laying it on the line. I give credit to Holmes. I’ve got nothing but love for them. They worked their tails off from the start of the game to the finish. They battled us the entire way. They didn’t make it easy on us.”
Hawkins scored all of Central’s fourth-quarter points (14) and after he connected on two free throws with 56.8 seconds left Central had a seemingly safe 52-47 lead.
Sophomore point guard James Bolden the charge back for Holmes. He hit a three pointer moments later, then hit two free throws with 10.6 seconds left to tie the game (52-52).
Bolden had a team-high 29 points and added 13 points. He connected on five-of-nine three-point attempts.
“By looking at his numbers, I don’t think we had (a defensive strategy for Bolden) to tell you the truth,” Feldhaus said of the Holmes point guard. “He’s good. We wanted to try our best to make him go to his right because we thought he didn’t shoot it quite so well going to his right. He’s crafty with that ball. He’s a different kind of point guard.”
Central never trailed in overtime.
Bosley provided the first big play of the extra period for the Indians when he drove to the basket and hit an off-balance shot as he was fouled with 2:48 left. The senior fell to ground and sat there for moment, waiting for the referee to make the call.
“I thought they called a charge,” Bosley said. “I was just hoping they hadn’t called it a charge.”
That rim-rattling dunk by Hawkins and a basket by Demarcus George — off a nice feed from Hawkins — gave the Indians a 59-53 lead.
Central didn’t have another field goal, but hit six-of-nine free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
“These guys don’t panic,” Feldhaus said.
Holmes led by seven points twice in the opening half and took a 25-22 lead into halftime.
Hawkins and Bosley had sub-par performances in the first half. The duo combined to hit just five-of-21 field goal attempts and had just 16 total points.
Central shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half.
“That’s about as bad a first half as we’ve had offensively all year,” Feldhaus said.
Hawkins was three-of-14 from the field in the first half, but was seven-of-13 in the second half and hit eight-of-10 free throws.
“In the first half, my shots weren’t going in and I thought I was just forcing it,” Hawkins said. “In the second half, I was putting more time into my jumpshot. In the fourth quarter, I felt that my shot was starting to come to me.”
Central shot just 34 percent for the game, including four-of-18 from three-point range. But, the Indians committed just two turnovers and out-scored Holmes 28-14 in the paint.
Central has played in the Sweet 16 four times, but has only advanced to the semifinals one other time. In 1987, the Indians lost to eventual state champion Clay County.