Dominique Hawkins made just three of his first 16 shots, but the voice in his head told him to keep firing.
“Over and over I tell myself, ‘I’ve got to take over,’ ” he said.
And with his basketball team’s season hanging in the balance, he did just that.
Hawkins scored all 14 of Madison Central’s points in the fourth quarter and hit two clutch free throws in overtime as the Indians beat Holmes 65-61 in Friday’s quarterfinals of the Sweet 16 in Rupp Arena.
A finalist for Mr. Basketball, Hawkins started the game 1 for 10 from the field and was 3 for 14 with seven points at halftime.
“I think he took that to heart at halftime and raised his level of play,” Indians coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said.
Hawkins finished 10 of 27 from the field for a game-high 31 points and tossed in 12 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Ken-Jah Bosley added 23 points and five steals as Madison Central (30-5), No. 4 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, advanced to tonight’s 7:30 EST semifinal against Hopkinsville.
Sophomore James “Beetle” Bolden had 29 points and 13 rebounds to lead No. 13 Holmes (32-3), which missed four straight free throws in the fourth quarter and was 1 for 6 from the field in overtime.
“It was a great war, a great battle,” Holmes coach Jason Booher said. “We just came out on the wrong end of it.”
Madison Central trailed 25-22 after shooting 25 percent (7 of 28) in the first half but put together a 12-3 run to take a 38-34 lead on Bosley’s basket with 2:07 left in the third quarter.
Holmes battled back and led 47-44 after Marcus Hill’s free throw with 2:47 left in regulation. But Hawkins hit back-to-back 3-pointers, giving the Indians a 50-47 lead with 1:30 left.
“In the second half I was putting more time into my jump shot and not just forcing it,” he said. “I was pump-faking and trying to get the defender up. In the fourth quarter I felt my shot starting to come to me.”
Hawkins hit two free throws for a 52-47 lead with 56.8 seconds left, but Bolden’s 3-pointer pulled the Bulldogs within 52-50 with 36 seconds remaining. After Hawkins missed the front end of a one-and-one, Bolden was fouled with 10.6 seconds left and hit both free throws to tie it at 52. Hawkins’ 35-footer at the buzzer missed, leading to overtime.
Bosley’s 3-point play and Hawkins’ dunk gave the Indians a 57-52 lead, and they never trailed in the extra period. Bolden hit three free throws with 16.6 seconds left to pull the Bulldogs within 62-61, but Hawkins sank two charity shots for a 64-61 edge with 13.1 seconds remaining.
Bolden missed a 3-point try, and Demarcus George sank 1 of 2 free throws with 2.6 seconds left for the final margin.
“That was just an unbelievable high school basketball game,” said Feldhaus, whose team finished with just two turnovers. “I don’t think I’ve seen a game like that where you have two teams just flat out laying it on the line. … I pretty much know what to expect from my guys, but (Holmes) battled us the entire way.”
Booher challenged his players to use Hawkins as an example during their offseason workouts.
“We need to get to how strong he is physically,” Booher said. “He just lowers his head and jump stops in the paint and covers up the ball. … He’s a tremendous player and has a really good shot to win Mr. Basketball.”
Holmes (32-3) – Chames 9, Englemon 3, Bolden 29, Coston 9, Palmer 9, Housley 1, Hill 1.
Madison Central (30-5) – Stocker 2, Parke 3, Bosley 23, Hawkins 31, Walker 3, George 3.
3-point goals – Bolden 5, Palmer 1, Parke 1, Bosley 1, Hawkins 2.