The play may not have been run perfectly, but it was the perfect play for the Covington Holy Cross boys basketball team.
The Indians’ Jake Burger hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving Holy Cross a 52-51 win over Bardstown in the championship game of the Kentucky Touchstone Energy All “A” Classic Sunday afternoon at the Frankfort Convention Center.
“That wasn’t exactly what we wanted,” Holy Cross coach Erik Goetz said, “but I didn’t want to call a timeout and give them a chance to set something up on defense.”
Bardstown (16-6) had taken a 51-49 lead on a layup by Anthony Myrks with two seconds left.
Holy Cross had to take the ball the length of the court, and Bardstown tipped the inbounds pass out of bounds with 1.8 seconds left.
That gave the Indians the ball along the left sideline on their offensive end of the court.
Burger came up with the ball and fired a well-guarded 3-pointer that found nothing but the bottom of the net as the final buzzer sounded.
Named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Burger said he wasn’t the first option on the inbounds play.
“We were trying to get the ball to Tony (Campbell),” he said, “but I caught the ball and put it up. I was hoping it went in.”
Burger’s shot completed a comeback for the Indians, who trailed Bardstown by 12 points, 42-30, after three quarters.
“I told them just don’t quit, keep playing,” Goetz said. “We’ll make runs at you. I give all the credit to the kids.”
Holy Cross scored the first six points of the game and led 14-12 after the first quarter.
Bardstown got going in the second quarter, hitting three 3-pointers, and led 30-27 at halftime.
The Tigers dominated the third quarter, holding Holy Cross to three points and leading 42-30 when the period ended.
“We had to keep chipping away, keep scoring off our defensive pressure,” Burger said. “We had a bunch of guys make big defensive plays.”
Holy Cross opened the fourth quarter with an alley-oop dunk by Campbell off a pass from Travis Thompson.
That started a 16-5 run for the Indians, who trailed by just a point, 47-46, with 1:27 remaining.
Myrks hit two free throws 27 seconds later to give the Tigers a 49-46 advantage, but Holy Cross tied the game on a 3-pointer by Christian McClendon with 46 seconds left.
The Tigers ran the clock, and Myrks drove in for a layup with two seconds left that gave Bardstown a 51-49 lead.
That set up Burger’s heroics.
“We work on a sidelines play,” Goetz said. “The kids knew what the play was, and it wasn’t executed perfectly. What character all these kids showed coming back against that team.
“If anyone deserves to make that shot, he does,” Goetz added about Burger. “What he’s done the last two weeks, in the regional and state, is unbelievable.”
-Bardstown, after shooting 52 percent in the first half, slipped to 35 percent in the second. The Tigers hurt themselves with 20 turnovers compared to just nine committed by Holy Cross.
The Indians shot 37 percent and had 11 steals, three more than BHS.
Campbell finished with a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds, but Bardstown held a 34-38 edge on the boards. Justin Hubbard and Cody Ramos both had nine rebounds for the Tigers.
Burger led all players with 18 points, and Myrks had a team-high 17 points for Bardstown.
Named to the all-tournament team Burger, Campbell, Thompson and Jared Fortner of Holy Cross; Jordan Brewer, Devonte Gundy and Myrks of Bardstown; Bryce Overstreet, Ryan Perry and Andrew Steggeman of Louisville Collegiate; Jacob Jett and Drew Winkle of Heath, and Tryston Ford of Danville.
COV. HOLY CROSS (52) – Burt Pouncy 4, Travis Thompson 3, Jake Burger 18, Antonio Campbell 12, Jared Fortner 8, Christian McClendon 7.
BARDSTOWN (51) – Anthony Myrks 17, Marcus Cosby 5, Devonte Gundy 5, Jordan Brewer 13, Justin Hubbard 3, Cody Ramos 4, Drew Starks 4.