Cameron Wilson’s four free throws in the final 1:02 of overtime were the difference as the host Valley High School boys basketball team beat Central 65-61 in overtime on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Republic Bank Louisville Invitational Tournament.
Valley (12-3), which hasn’t reached the final of the LIT since winning the title in 1989, will face Trinity in Saturday’s 11:30 a.m. semifinal.
“It’s great for the school,” first-year Vikings coach DeJuan Wheat said. “I hope the alumni from Valley will come on board and root this team on. … (Trinity) is a big, big challenge. When I took this job I told the guys, ‘I’m trying to beat the best.’ Trinity’s one of the best in the state, so we have a big obstacle.”
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Dominique Knight’s 3-point play gave Central (9-7) a 55-53 lead with 49.6 seconds left in regulation, but Eric George’s basket tied it at 55 with 27 seconds left. Devin Firman’s off-balance 3-point try at the buzzer missed, leading to overtime.
The overtime featured three ties, the last coming on George’s basket that made it 61-61 with 1:18 left. After a turnover, Firman was whistled for a technical foul after shoving a Valley player with 1:02 left. Wilson sank both free throws for a 63-61 lead.
Rajon Rondo watches from Central bench pic.twitter.com/qkhlNO3G1M— Jason Frakes (@kyhighs) January 14, 2017
Valley’s Xavier Johnson missed two free throws with 21.9 seconds left, giving Central a final chance. Firman drove the lane and missed, and Wilson sank two free throws with 9.5 seconds left to seal it.
Curt Lewis led the Vikings with 28 points, and George added 17 points and nine rebounds.
Firman (25 points) and Knight (19 points) paced Central. Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo – a longtime friend of Central coach Doug Bibby – watched the game from the Yellowjackets’ bench.
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
VALLEY 65, CENTRAL 61, OT
CENTRAL (9-7) – Korey Johnson 4p; Devin Firman 25p, 6r, 4s; Derron Douglas 0p, 8r, 3a; Andy Crittenden 5p; Dominique Knight 19p, 6r; Antwan Thompson 2p; Josh Watkins 6p.
VALLEY (12-3) – Cameron Wilson 7p; Raekwon Evans 7p, 11r, 3a; Curt Lewis 28p, 7r; Xavier Johnson 6p; Eric George 17p, 10r.