LEXINGTON, Ky. — Bowling Green High School’s basketball team withstood a furious rally from undersized Scott and needed some late-game heroics from eighth grader Zion Harmon to slip past the Eagles, 80-79 Saturday night in the KHSAA Sweet 16 semifinals at Rupp Arena.
The Purples (35-2), winners of 28 straight, return to the state championship game for the second time in three years. In the previous three years, they’ve lost to the eventual champion in the Sweet 16.
Ahead by 11 points with 4:57 left in the fourth quarter, the Purples (35-2) — ranked No. 4 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous ratings — saw Scott rally for a 79-78 lead after Jaycob Pouncy hit a pair of free throws with 28.9 seconds left.
Then the highly-touted prospect Harmon drove toward the right side of the basket and lifted a 12-footer off the backboard with 21.1 seconds left, giving the Purples an 80-79 lead.
“Basically, I knew we needed a bucket to get to the state championship,” said Harmon, who finished with 18 points. “That’s all that was on my mind.”
Bowling Green coach D.G. Sherrill said he had a good feeling on the Purples’ last possession as Harmon drove to the basket.
“When he came off the bounce, I knew he was going to shoot it,” Sherrill said. “I knew he was going to score. I saw a look in his eyes.”
After the Purples went ahead, the Eagles (23-13) had one last chance. Scott’s Jake Ohmer, who led all scorers with 33 points, sliced toward the basket and missed a 10-footer with three seconds left. Scott’s Nelson Perrin tried a putback but couldn’t convert it as the final horn sounded. In Scott’s three games in Lexington, Ohmer — who has committed to play at NAIA University of Cumberlands in Williamsburg — erupted for 106 points, an average of just over 35 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds, as did his 5-foot-7 brother, Chad, who had 11 points.
“You could’ve taken this and burnt it to have that (last) shot go in,” Scott coach Steve Fromeyer said as held up the final stat sheet. “He doesn’t care. He’s had a great run. He’s an incredible player and a great kid.
“Our kids have been resilient all season long. They’ll get over this. The sun will come up tomorrow. I’m very proud of them. There’s something about young, little guys who fly around and are fun to watch.”
For the Purples, Terry Taylor led the way with 26, hitting 11 of 18 shots, and 12 rebounds. Harmon and Kyran Jones added 18 points apiece.
SWEET 16 SEMIFINALS
AT RUPP ARENA
Chad Ohmer 11p, 8r, 5a; Jake Ohmer 33p, 8r, 5a; Tim Jolley 5p; Nelson Perrin 6p; Jaycob Pouncy 9p; Jake Pusateri 4p; Vincent Dumlao 11p;
BOWLING GREEN (35-2)
Deangelo Wilson 12p, 8a; Zion Harmon 18p; Kyran Jones 18p, 6p; Terry Taylor 26 p, 12r, 4a; Jarius Key 2p; Trey Jones 4p.