The first basketball state title of sorts has been decided, and if it is any kind of an omen for what's to come, we may all have a heck of a February and March of phenomenal basketball action ahead of us.
As reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader and Cincinnati Enquirer, among other outlets, Covington (Ky.) Holy Cross School won the 2012 Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, with senior Jake Burger banking in an off-balance shot to give his team a 52-51 victory against Bardstown (Ky.) High.
The All "A" Classic is an event to recognize the best basketball teams in Kentucky's smallest division before the state's open classification championships begins. The tournament has existed on a state-wide level since 1990, and according to the Herald-Leader, this was Holy Cross' first appearance in the state finals since that tournament expansion.
To earn that accolade, Burger had to hit a most unlikely shot, throwing up a desperation shot from behind the arc off an inbounds play with just 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock. Burger got his shot off just before the red buzzer for the end of the game lit up, and then watched his heave of a fallaway prayer bank off the backboard and bounce through the rim.
"I got it, threw it up and luckily made it," Burger told the Herald-Leader.
Burger's game-winning bucket capped a wild and woolly final 10 seconds, with Bardstown thinking it had a state crown wrapped up after point guard Anthony Myrks hit a driving layup with just two seconds on the clock.
Unfortunately for Bardstown, that left just enough time for Holy Cross' final stand. A first inbounds pass was sent in deep up the left side of the court, but a Bardstown defender slapped it away before it could be caught by a Holy Cross teammate. That advanced the ball to the other side of the court while taking just 0.2 seconds off the clock, the best possible scenario for Holy Cross.
Then came the game-winning inbounds play, with Burger serving as a final resort for the inbounds pass from the sideline when Holy Cross' 6-foot-8 center Antonio Campbell was blanketed by Bardstown defenders.
Luckily for Campbell and his teammate, Burger was the guy who got the ball, and just in time.
"The way Jake's played the last two weeks in the region and state [All "A" Classic] tournament, if anybody deserved to make that shot, it's that kid," Holy Cross boys basketball coach Eric Goetz told the Herald-Leader. "It wasn't exactly what we were looking for but, gosh, it worked out. Unbelievable."
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