When Franklin County needed a defensive stop the most, it couldn’t get one.
Especially when senior Eli Boggess had the ball late.
Boggess scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter, hitting what proved to be the game-winner with 15 seconds left to lift Woodford County to a 67-66 win over FCHS in the 41st District Tournament championship game Friday night at the Frankfort Convention Center. Senior Rylan Rowe missed a tough left-handed layup in the final seconds and a scrum ensued for the loose ball as time ran out.
“We couldn’t guard anybody down the stretch, we couldn’t get a defensive stop that we needed,” said FCHS coach Tommy Johnson, whose team had beaten WCHS twice this season. “And when I felt like we did, the whistle blew. Not to make excuses on anything because I hate to make excuses, but from my angle when it looked like we were sliding our feet they got calls.”
It’s the second straight year the Yellow Jackets (16-14) have beaten the Flyers (15-12) in the championship game, winning 72-64 in 2013 after Boggess had 41 points. Both teams advance to this week’s 11th Region Tournament.
“What an exciting game,” WCHS coach Scott Hundley said as his team cut down the net behind him. “That’s what the district championship should be like every time.”
Boggess was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after shooting 10 for 19 and adding seven rebounds. He scored 26 points — 15 in the fourth quarter— in an opening-round win over Frankfort.
“Good players down the stretch take over games,” Johnson said. “We just didn’t do a good job of guarding him.”
The final 1:30 was a frenetic back-and-forth affair with Boggess and senior Lorenzo McCaskell exchanging big basket after big basket down the stretch.
McCaskell, who scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, drove baseline and scored off glass to give FCHS a 64-63 lead with a minute left. But Boggess followed with a floater to help WCHS reclaim the lead at 65-64.
McCaskell answered with a tough shot over two defenders with 30 seconds left before Boggess made a tough layup after nearly losing the ball. That made it 67-66 with 15 seconds to go and set up one final play for FCHS.
Rowe, who had 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting, had the ball in his hands at the top of the key. He drove left and got all the way to the basket but missed the layup high off the glass. About seven players went for the rebound, but no player could grab it before the final buzzer sounded.
“We were actually looking for Zo on that play, but they did a good job of taking him away,” Johnson said. “Our next option was Rylan and Rylan took it to the basket, which is what he’s supposed to do — just didn’t hit the shot. Then everybody goes up for the rebound and just couldn’t come down with it.”
Hundley knew securing the rebound would be the key to that final play.
“It came down to really who had the ball last,” Hundley said. “Luckily, Rylan lost it a little bit on the way up, but I told our guys, ‘Most games are lost on the putback. I know we’ll play good defense on the frontside, but we have to rebound the ball.’ All five of our guys were like piranhas on it.”
Seniors Grayson Graf and Samuel Souers had 17 and 12 points, respectively, for the Yellow Jackets. Senior Chris Roberts had 16 points and six rebounds, while McCaskell grabbed seven rebounds for the Flyers.
WOODFORD CO. (67) — Keenon Lane 4, Michael Shelton 3, Samuel Souers 12, Eli Boggess 27, Grayson Graf 17, Colton McCrady 2, Zachary Pohlman 2.
FRANKLIN CO. (66) — Demetrius Wylie 9, Rylan Rowe 15, Lorenzo McCaskell 21, Ryan Schneider 4, Chris Roberts 16, Demarcus Kennedy 1.
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