An 88-foot buzzer-beating heave made Ballard High School’s Jake Ramsey the buzz of social media for a few hours Friday night. But in the end, a 20-foot jump shot by David Burton helped make Trinity victorious.
Ramsey’s miraculous shot allowed the Bruins to force overtime before the Shamrocks regrouped to record a 67-62 victory in a semifinal of the Class Act Federal Credit Union Seventh Region Tournament at Valley.
Postgame locker rooms usually find an overwhelming contrast of emotions after a regional-tournament game, but even Bruins coach Chris Renner had a smile on his face after the defeat.
GALLERY: Trinity vs. Ballard
“They’re never going to forget this game,” Renner said of his team. “They’re always going to go back to Jake hitting that shot. Does that make it that much better? We’re still disappointed, but it was one hell of a ballgame.”
As for the particulars, Jacob King and Gabe Schmitt both scored 19 points as Trinity (28-6) – No. 5 in the state in The Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings – advanced to face St. Xavier (23-9) in Tuesday’s 7 p.m. regional final.
Ramsey led No. 10 Ballard (22-11) with 18 points. Jamil Wilson added 16 points, and Clivonte Patterson pitched in 14 points and 12 rebounds.
As for Ramsey’s shot, those who saw it will be talking about it for years.
“Give him a lot of credit,” Trinity coach Mike Szabo said. “That was an unbelievable shot.”
The Shamrocks had to make a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback to set up the dramatics.
Ballard led 42-31 after Wilson’s basket with 7:04 remaining before the Shamrocks turned up their defensive pressure and rallied. Schmitt’s basket on a backdoor cut – after a nice bounce pass from King – completed a 16-4 run that gave Trinity a 47-46 lead at the 2:20 mark.
“I decided to press, and at least that sped (Ballard) up and they took quicker shots and we were at least able to get the ball,” Szabo said of the rally. “Then we got more aggressive and got us energized offensively. … This is the kind of team, once they can feel it, it really gets them going.”
His team up 54-52, Schmitt went to the free-throw line with 0.6 second left and the game apparently over. He made the first free throw for a 55-52 lead but missed the second. Ramsey, a tight end who recently signed to play football at Kentucky State University, grabbed the rebound and lofted a high-arching shot that rattled in to force overtime.
As his team celebrated, Renner spent time herding Bruins fans back to their seats, concerned about a possible technical foul.
“I actually practice my half-court shots during fifth period when I’m peer tutoring in the gym,” Ramsey said. “I actually told our manager in fifth period that I was going to hit one today. Sure enough. I had a feeling the rebound was going to come off and I had to get it up quick.”
Both coaches spent the moments after the shot trying to calm their players for the overtime.
“My thing was, ‘OK, let’s beat them again,’” Szabo said. “We already beat them once. Now let’s beat them again. We get to beat Ballard a second time. I made them all look me in the eye and said, ‘We’re winning this damn game.’”
Wilson’s free throw gave Ballard a 56-55 lead to open overtime. Both teams struggled to score before Burton’s 3-pointer gave the Shamrocks the lead for good, 58-56, with 1:39 remaining.
The Shamrocks hit 9 of 10 free throws in the final 42 seconds to seal the victory.
“Nothing surprises me with this group,” Szabo said. “They’re so resilient, and they’re such great teammates. They never quit.”
That also was the message from Ballard.
“It wasn’t as disappointing because we went down with a fight,” Ramsey said of the mood of the team after the loss. “We didn’t just give up. We tried all the way to the buzzer. We just came up short.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trinity (28-6): J. King 19, Burton 9, Johnson 12, Schmitt 19, Harris 6, B. King 2.
Ballard (22-11): Douglas 5, Patterson 14, Alvey 7, Wimberly 2, Wilson 16, Ramsey 18.
3-point goals: J. King 2, Burton, Schmitt; Alvey, Wilson, Ramsey.Trinity (28-6) – J. King 19, Burton 9, Johnson 12, Schmitt 19, Harris 6, B. King 2.