Sunday, March 18, 2001

Lafayette comeback good present for coach

Team rallies from 13 down to win 6th Kentucky title

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — What do you give a longtime high school basketball coach for his 50th birthday?How about a come-from-behind state championship over a nationally ranked opponent?

        That's exactly what Lafayette coach Don Adkins got from his players Saturday night as the Generals shocked heavily favored Male 54-49 in the finals of the boys state basketball tournament at Rupp Arena.

        Robert Madison scored 23 points, including 10 in the final quarter, as Region 11 champion Lafayette (25-11) rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to win its sixth state title.

        “I told the kids it was a super, super birthday present,” a euphoric Adkins said as multi-colored confetti floated down upon him from the Rupp rafters. “What a way to win it.

        “I can't put this into words right now. I really wanted this for the kids and for the school. Maybe it will hit me by Tuesday.”

        The championship was Lafayette's first in 21 seasons and the first by a Lexington school since Henry Clay's thrilling 1983 triple-overtime victory over Carlisle County.

        The Generals, who were 13-11 at one point and never ranked in The AP's Top 10 this season, beat Christian County 62-52 to claim the 1979 state championship in their last Sweet Sixteen appearance.

        Larry O'Bannon scored 13 points and LaVar Carter added 10 for Region 7 champion Male (32-4), which appeared in its state-record ninth title game.

        “You've seen it a million times,” Male coach Bryce Hibbard said. “It's a cliche, but you start playing not to lose. We just got tentative and stopped playing. It just wasn't meant to be.”

        It was, however, meant to be for the Generals and Madison, who hit 5-of-11 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds in the title game after a 23-point performance in his squad's 69-66 overtime victory over North Hardin in the semifinals.

        “You see this,” Madison began, pointing to his hand. “God gave me a hot hand and said, "Let it go, boy. Let it fly because you're in another world. You're No. 1.”'

        It didn't appear to be Lafayette's night early.

        Four different players scored in the opening three minutes of play, capped by O'Bannon's long 3-pointer, as Male jumped on top 9-2. Putbacks by O'Bannon and Carter gave the Bulldogs a 24-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.

        Lafayette continued to struggle in the second quarter as Male's size and athleticism made it difficult to get open looks inside.

        Consecutive putbacks by Vernard Hazard and Brandon Riley cut the margin to 29-18, but a John Haury tap-in with a minute to play gave the Bulldogs a 31-18 halftime lead.

        Lafayette chipped away at the lead in the third quarter, outscoring Male 13-8 to cut the margin to 39-31 entering the final period.

        “I knew we were going to come back and win it,” said Madison, who was named the Sweet Sixteen's most valuable player.

        Also making the all-tournament team were Lafayette's Roberts and Gentry; Male's Carter, O'Bannon and Michael Bush; Russellville's Teco Dickerson and Maurice Hampton; North Hardin's Quinton Smith and Cedric Burton; Fairdale's Coric Riggs; Clay County's Jeremy Asher; Ashland Blazer's Mark Surgalski; South Laurel's Richie Riley and Madisonville's Michael Haney.

        LAFAYETTE (25-11) - Gentry 3-5 1-2 9, Floyd 2-3 0-0 4, Madison 8-18 2-6 23, Roberts 2-5 4-4 8, Hazard 2-5 1-2 5, Riley 2-3 1-2 5, Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-39 9-16 54.

        MALE (32-4) - Mathies 2-9 4-4 9, Burks 3-6 0-0 7, O'Bannon 5-16 2-4 13, Bush 3-7 2-4 8, Carter 5-8 0-0 10, Haury 1-1 0-0 2, Powell 0-2 0-0 0, Ballard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-49 8-12 49.

        Halftime—Male 31, Lafayette 18. 3-point goals—Lafayette 7-17 (Gentry 2-3, Madison 5-11, Roberts 0-3), Male 3-8 (Mathies 1-3, Burks 1-3, O'Bannon 1-2). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Lafayette 27 (Madison 8), Male 30 (Carter 9). Assists—Lafayette 12 (Roberts 5), Male 7 (O'Bannon 3). Total fouls—Lafayette 11, Male 1. A—19,288.

Boys basketball coverage
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