LEXINGTON, Ky. – An overwhelming favorite and a latecomer took home Kentucky’s top individual honors for high school basketball Tuesday night.
Elizabethtown’s Erin Boley and Owen County’s Carson Williams were named Miss and Mr. Basketball during a ceremony held at the Lexington Center’s Bluegrass Ballroom.
Boley has seemed destined to win the award for years and added the Miss Basketball honor to her McDonald’s and Naismith All-America honors this season.
Williams and Taylor County’s Quentin Goodin were considered the top Mr. Basketball candidates this season after several other talented players in the Class of 2016 transferred out of the state last summer.
E’town girls coach Tim Mudd admitted some relief after Boley was named the Miss Basketball winner. Jenkins’ Whitney Creech garnered some late-season attention for the award after becoming the state’s all-time leading scorer in February.
“I am very relieved because I do know in athletics that life’s not fair and you’re not going to get everything that you want,” Mudd said. “It’s just really nice and brings about a lot of pride when you see a kid work and put in the time like she has.”
The awards are sponsored by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation in conjunction with the Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches.
Boley, a 6-2 forward who has signed with Notre Dame, averaged 24.4 points and 10.5 rebounds this season for an E’town team that finished 30-5 after falling to Butler in the Sweet 16 quarterfinals. She began her varsity career as a seventh-grader and finished with 3,325 points and 1,431 rebounds.
“I’ve always watched to see who’s won the award since I’ve been a little girl,” Boley said. “It’s been a dream of mine since I was really young. Once I started getting recruited really heavily is when I realized that it was a possibility.”
Boley has a busy few weeks ahead of her, as she will play in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 30 in Chicago and the Jordan Brand Classic on April 15 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Boley also will wear the No. 1 jersey for the Kentucky All-Stars in their annual summer series against Indiana on June 11-12. Scott Boley, Erin’s father, said those games come just before Erin is scheduled to start summer classes at Notre Dame.
Mudd said he expects big things from Boley in college and beyond.
“There are going to be kids quicker and faster than her; there are lots of them,” Mudd said. “But I don’t believe any of them are as talented. And there’s nobody who’s ever outworked her.”
Williams, a 6-6 forward who has signed with Northern Kentucky, averaged 26.7 points and 10.8 rebounds this season. Owen County finished 29-4 after falling to South Oldham in the quarterfinals of the Eighth Region Tournament.
Like Boley, Williams also joined the varsity team as a seventh-grader. He finished his career with 2,967 points and 1,671 rebounds.
“My main goal was to get my team to Rupp Arena (for the Sweet 16), and we fell short of that, but this was one of my personal goals,” Williams said. “So it feels good to achieve that.”
Owen County coach Devin Duvall said he set out to showcase Williams in big events this season, playing in the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic in Louisville, the Kentucky-Indiana Challenge in Frankfort and the Jock Sutherland Classic in Lexington.
The Rebels also reached the semifinals of the All “A” Classic state tournament in Frankfort.
“He put us on his shoulders,” Duvall said. “Northern Kentucky is getting a jewel. I think he has the drive and the ability to play right away. … The sky is the limit for him. We haven’t seen his best basketball yet because he’s going to outwork everybody else.”
ALL-STARS BACK TO LOUISVILLE
After a two-year stint in Lexington, the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star series is scheduled to return to Louisville this summer.
Brian Miller, president of the Bluegrass Sports Commission that oversees the games for the Lions Eye Foundation, announced Tuesday that Bellarmine University’s Knights Hall will serve as the Kentucky site for the series on Sunday, June 12. Games will be played at Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse on June 11.
A total of 834 fans attended last summer’s games at the 1,200-seat Beck Center on the campus of Transylvania University in Lexington. Miller is hopeful the move to the 2,200-seat Knights Hall will help attendance.
“Going to Bellarmine allows us to lower the price for tickets to $12 from $25,” Miller said. “And hopefully we’ll be able to double the crowd.”
Miller said the deal with Bellarmine is for one year.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.