By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Madison Central punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 Saturday with an emphatic 67-46 victory over Lexington Catholic in the 11th Region Tournament championship game.
The win avenged a championship game loss to the Knights two years ago when this group of seniors was sophomores.
Central coach Allen Feldhaus said his senior class was thrown to the wolves as freshmen because they were the best players he had available. They took some lumps early, but Saturday it was their turn to deliver some punishment.
“We were on the other side of this two years ago when they were sophomores and were playing against Catholic’s seniors. All the titles were special, but this one is so very special because I can’t think of a group of seniors that is more deserving than this one,” Feldhaus said. “I was just praying, praying lightly that they would get to experience what it is like to play on that big stage and step out on that Rupp Arena floor.”
Ken-Jah Bosley lead all scorers in the game with 22 points. Dominique Hawkins — who was named tournament MVP — added 18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and one steal.
Quan Taylor finished with eight points and 10 rebounds, George Walker had six points, Daniel Park had five points, Demarcus George had four points and Hunter Stocker and Sam Jones had two points each.
The Indians came out locked in on defense and after trailing 5-3 early, went on an 8-0 run to take a 17-12 lead after the first quarter.
An 8-2 spurt to start the second quarter opened up a 25-14 lead and the Indians went into the half with a 30-21 advantage.
Catholic tried to get back into the game, scoring the first five points of the second half, but Bosley put the Indians on his back, scoring eight straight points to push the lead back out to 38-26.
The Knights’ 6-foot-9 inch Jack Whittman picked up his fourth foul and went to the bench and the Indians quickly began to pull away, stretching their advantage to 43-28 at the end of the third quarter.
Whittman returned in the fourth quarter, but picked up his fifth foul with almost six minutes remaining.
Without Whittman’s presence on the inside Catholic struggled to get points, and on the other end it became a dunkfest as the Indians quickly blew out to a 20-point lead and coasted the rest of the way.
Feldhaus said he never had a doubt that his senior-laden team was ready for the game.
“I have been able to sense for the last two or three weeks that these guys have been on a mission,” Feldhaus said. “We’ve got bigger fish to fry. I think our guys realize that they are talented enough to play with anybody because we have played anybody.”
Many teams go through a stretch in a season where they have a lull and lose a game or two, but Central has played on an even keel all season, against some the toughest competition in the state. They also have not lost this season to an 11th Region opponent.
Feldhaus said the schedule prepared his team to make a deep run in the state tournament.
“I told them before the game that without a doubt this is the toughest schedule any Madison Central team has ever played, without a doubt, no question,” Feldhaus said. “I told them, ‘There was a reason for that. Because I thought you could handle it and I thought it would help you in the long run. And the long run is next week.”
The Indians play Wayne County at noon on Wednesday in the first game of the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena. Madison Central will announce later today when tickets for the first game will go on sale at the school.