By Les Dixon
RUPP ARENA – It didn’t take long for Madison Central’s Dominique Hawkins to show why he is being considered as one of the frontrunners for this year’s Mr. Basketball award. The 6 foot 1 inch senior scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Indians past 12th Region champion Wayne County, 81-56.
University of Kentucky coach John Calipari was at Rupp Arena Wednesday to catch a glimpse of the Madison Central star, but Hawkins, who is being recruited by UK and a host of other Division I schools, didn’t know Calipari was there.
“It’s an honor for me to know he was here,” Hawkins said. “I didn’t notice coach Cal in the endzone.”
Madison Central also made a strong case for itself as one of the teams to beat in the tournament. The Indians used a 24-3 run that began in the second quarter and carried over into the third to cruise to the 25-point win
“I’m really pleased with our group defensively,” Madison Central coach Allen Feldhaus Jr. said. “They are a dangerous team to have to guard.”
The Cardinals entered the game as one of the best three-point shooting teams in the region, but could never get on track against the highly-favored Madison Central squad. Wayne County connected on 20-of-49 shot attempts for the game, including six-of-20 three-point range, as Peyton Woods led his team in scoring with 14 points.
“We had a lot of seniors on the floor,” Feldhaus, Jr. said. “I think that may have made the difference.”
The Indians were led in scoring by Hawkins’ 25-point effort, while Ken-Jah Bosley (19 points, eight rebounds points) and Quan Taylor ( 13 points and 15 rebounds) also scored in double figures.
Madison Central (29-5) jumped on the Cardinals early thanks to Hawkins’ six-point effort. His basket midway through the quarter ignited a 12-4 run that saw a 6-5 Indian lead grow to 18-9. George Walker also added a three-pointer during the stretch, as Madison Central managed to take a 20-12 lead into the second quarter on nine-of-19 shooting from the floor.
Madison Central’s lead grew to 24-14 with 6:57 left in the first half after a dunk by Taylor. A three-pointer by the Indians’ Daniel Parke increased the Indians’ lead to 28-14 at the five minute mark increased his team’ lead to 28-14.
Wayne County (27-8) did go on a 5-0 run sparked by Corey Stearns’ three-pointer with 3:46 remaining in the first half to make the score 30-21, but Madison Central closed out the half with a 13-2 run and took a commanding 43-23 lead into halftime.
Hawkins had four points during the run and scored 12 points in the first half while Bosley added eight of his 13 first half points during the run, including a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to end the first half.
It didn’t take long for the Indians to put the game away in the second half. Madison Central opened the third quarter with a 9-1 run (giving the Indians a 52-24 lead with les than six minutes remaining in the period), and they never looked back.
Wayne County had trouble stopping Hawkins again in the period. He scored 11 points and guided the Indians to a 67-40 lead going into the final quarter of play.
Madison Central finished the game shooting 32-of-68 from the floor while outrebounding Wayne County, 48-21.
96TH Annual KHSAA Boys Sweet Sixteen At Rupp Arena
Madison Central 81, Wayne County 56
Madison Central 20 23 24 14 81
Wayne County 12 11 17 16 56
Madison Central (81) – Taylor 13, Parke 8, Bosley 19, Hawkins 25, Walker 6, George 4, Conner 1, Jones 5.
Wayne County (56) – P. Woods 14, Stearns 0, Shelton 4, Perkins 8, Blevins 10, Gehring 1, Perkins 3, Gillespie 2, L. Woos 3, Gardner 1.