The Ballard boys’ basketball team is still alive in postseason play thanks to Jamil Wilson.
The junior point guard hit a pull-up jumper at the buzzer to lift the Bruins to an 81-79 win over host Central on Tuesday night in the Class Act Federal Credit Union Seventh Region Tournament quarterfinals.
With the score tied 79, and after a timeout with 10.4 seconds left, Wilson brought the ball across halfcourt and gave it up to Cam Snider, who immediately passed it back to Wilson about 25 feet from the basket. Wilson then took two dribbles to the right and pulled up from about 17 feet out. His shot splashed through the net at the buzzer.
“I knew I was going to shoot that before the timeout,” said Wilson, who scored a game-high 23 points. “I looked up there, it was a tie game, I knew it was game-time.”
Added Ballard coach Chris Renner: “You want to win, or lose, a basketball game with the ball in your best player’s hands and he made a play to win it for us.”
The reigning region champion Bruins (22-10), who are No. 10 in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, will next take on No. 5 Trinity at 6 p.m. Friday in the Seventh semis at Valley.
Wilson’s shot capped off a back-and-forth battle that was too good to be decided in regulation.
Thanks to some hot outside shooting the No. 17 Yellowjackets (15-12), who hit four 3-pointers in the first 6:16, led 20-10 late in the first quarter. Ballard, though, battled back to pull within 33-31 at halftime.
The Bruins surged ahead by five midway through the third quarter before Central evened the score at 46 heading into the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final frame the Yellowjackets went on a 9-2 run to open up a 59-52 lead. But Ballard fought back again.
The Bruins trailed by five (68-63) with less than 30 seconds left before senior forward Jake Ramsey scored inside for Ballard. Dai’Von Thompson then hit 1 of 2 free throws for Central before Wilson knocked down two fouls shots with 16.2 seconds left. After another Bruins foul, Thompson hit one free throw with 9.7 seconds left, but missed the second. Wilson quickly pushed the ball upcourt and found Snider, a reserve who had only been in the game a short time, in the left corner. The senior drilled a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left to send it to overtime.
In the extra session Ramsey’s putback with 26 seconds left put Ballard up 79-77, before Central’s Terrell Davis was fouled on the other end. The senior calmly hit two free throws with 17 seconds left. The Bruins brought the ball across halfcourt then called timeout.
“The play was to get Jake in the post, or get Brian (Alvey) in the corner, but neither one of them was open, so I took my one-dribble pull-up,” Wilson said. “It’s a shot I work on all the time.”
Wilson paced four in double figures for the Bruins, who shot 49.2 percent from the field.
Junior forward Clivonte Patterson scored 15 points before fouling out late in regulation while Ramsey, a senior forward, was huge inside with a double-double (13 points and 15 rebounds). Senior guard Brian Alvey added 10, all in the second half.
Junior guard Devin Firman paced the Yellowjackets with 22 points, thanks in part to four 3-pointers, while Thompson, who finished 8 for 11 from the charity stripe, added 19. Senior guard Brandon Wells added 13 for Central, which shot 45.5 percent from the field and outscored Ballard 33-12 from 3-point range.
“It was an incredible game, big shot by Snider to put it into overtime. Big shot by Jamil to win the game,” Yellowjackets coach Doug Bibby said. “Probably one of the toughest first-round games in the state. My hat’s off to both teams and both coaching staffs…If I thought there ever should’ve been a tie, that was the game. Neither team deserved to lose that game.”
Ballard (22-10): Patterson 15, Douglas 12, Ramsey 13, Wilson 23, Alvey 10, Ford 2, Wimberly 3, Snider 3.
Central (15-12): Davis 5, Firman 22, Douglas 6, Wells 13, Thompson 19, Gaines 3, Southers 5, Stephens 6.
3-point goals: Firman 4, Wells 3, Alvey 2, Stephens 2, Snider 1, Thompson 1, Wilson 1, Wimberly 1.