Christian County High School had been to the last three state tournaments and four of the last five, but they can finally say that they won the state championship.
The second region hadn’t brought home a state championship since 1992, when University Heights Academy won the state title. Christian County (25-9) finally broke through last night in a 65-63 double overtime victory over a tough Rowan County (30-6) team.
Rowan County, led by an outstanding effort from junior forward Adam Wing, took the Colonels to the limits. Wing hit 7 of 8 three pointers and finished with 31 points and 13 rebounds. However his great tournament performance may be overshadowed by the efforts of Christian County point guard Anthony Hickey.
In four games, Hickey averaged 22.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.5 steals, 4.8 assists and committed only seven turnovers for the entire tournament. The 5-foot-11 senior scored 17 points, pulled down 12 rebounds, dished six assists and took away three steals in the championship game.
All those stats aside, Hickey’s biggest play was a pass to the left corner to fellow senior Veontae Lewis.
The 6-foot guard knocked down an 18-foot jumper with no time left on the clock to give Christian County the win and their first state title.
“I knew it was good,” Lewis said of the buzzer beater.
Hickey and ten year Christian County veteran coach Kerry Stovall both believed they would execute in the closing seconds.
“I knew that if Anthony could draw some defenders, we would get a look on the perimeter,” said Stovall. “Veontae was there, wide open. He made big shot after big shot tonight in the championship game and he stepped up and made another,” Stovall continued.
“I’d rather us have a good shot than a forced shot,” said Hickey. “So I just passed it off. I always prayed I’d get a last-second shot, but I made the right decision,” he finished.
The shot gave Veontae Lewis his 19th and 20th points of the game and earned him MVP of the Championship game.
The back and forth contest had 11 lead changes and 13 ties. Neither team led by more than five points and both teams made buzzer beaters during the game.
The first buzzer beater was at the end of the first over time. Christian County held a three point lead at 61-58 in the closing seconds. Colonel senior Donovan Kates missed a the second of two free-throws and the Vikings quickly moved down the court, kicking the ball over to senior guard Darrell Cross who knocked down a three pointer, sending the game into a second overtime.
Ultimately, Christian County came out on top in what many are calling the best championship game in decades.
All-tournament team - Corey Rogers (Clark County), Scott Schuette (Lexington Catholic), Gavin Dunagan (Wayne County), Blake Clark (Marshall County), Remy Abell, Lyonell Gaines (Eastern), Derek Willis, Corey Washburn (Bullitt East), D.J. Thompson, Adam Wing, Darrell Cross (Rowan County), Veontae Lewis, Anthony Hickey (MVP), Donovan Kates (Christian County).