Kentucky state title buzzer beater one-ups NCAA’s madness

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

What was the best buzzer beater of the weekend? Butler's first-round -- or second-round, for that matter -- thriller? Possibly. Was it the potential buzzer-beater that wasn't, with Derrick Williams' game-ending block sending Arizona to the second round? That might be it, too.

Then again, if one looks further, all the way down to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association's annual Sweet 16 state tournament final, an even better buzzer beater emerges.

A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

As you can see above, Christian (Ky.) County High somehow scrapped back from a double-overtime deficit to prevail, 65-63, against Rowan (Ky.) County High. The Colonels won the state title on a three from the far left corner of the court by senior Veontae Lewis, sending a split fan base at the University of Kentucky's Rupp Arena into both delirium and stunned silence.

"I knew it was good," Lewis told the Lexington Herald-Leader's Mike Maloney after drilling the game-winner. "I'm feeling good.

"When it left my hands, it felt good, and it went in. ... When I was little, I always dreamed about [hitting a title-winning shot]."

Lewis and his teammates had every reason to feel good, and much of the credit for their accomplishment belongs with the team's tight defense in the game's final two minutes. The Colonels also got help from one of those requisite close calls that always seems even more significant in a single-possession playoff game. Already trailing by one, the Colonels shut down Rowan County for the final two minutes, thanks in part to a questionable charge call on Rowan star D.J. Townsend.

The charge not only kept Christian County within a point, it also was Townsend's fifth foul, robbing Rowan of one of the team's best offensive creators.

Amazingly, Lewis' buzzer beater wasn't even the first of the game. Christian County had a chance to put the title away at the end of the first overtime, leading 61-56 with just 10 seconds remaining. That's when another questionable call went against Rowan and Townsend.

With 9.7 seconds remaining in the extra period, Townsend hit what Maloney described as a three, but officials ruled to be a two-point basket. That cut Christian County's lead to three, and after a foul just 1.1 seconds later, Colonels star Donovan Kates missed the first shot of a one-and-one, leaving Rowan with just enough time to get off a last-second three.

Rowan County's Darrell Cross drilled the final shot from just in front of his team's bench, sending the game to a second extra period.
Yet in the end, all those heroics only made the loss sting more, as Christian County was left to celebrate the school's first Sweet 16 state title after runner-up finishes in 1976 and 1979.

"We showed so much heart," Rowan County Coach Shawn Thacker told the Herald-Leader. "It's disappointing. When they grow up, they'll be very proud of what they got done. I don't know if that's the greatest high school game played in this gym, but it may be."

Want more on the best stories in high school sports? Visit RivalsHigh or connect with Prep Rally on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

What to Read Next