Under the bright lights of the Gardner Law King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic, a tale of tenacity, skill, and last-minute heroics unfolded. The No. 2 ranked Great Crossing Warhawks (8-0), faced a formidable challenge against the No. 9 Newport Wildcats (7-2). In a game that felt more like a chess match than a basketball match, the Warhawks emerged victorious with a slim 48-46 margin, setting their sights on the upcoming semifinal against the host, Fairdale.
Vince Dawson, III, etched his name into the annals of the tournament. Scoring 20 points throughout the game as the linchpin of his team's offense. But his defining moment came when the clock ticked down to a mere 10 seconds. With the poise of a seasoned warrior, he launched a 3-pointer that sailed through the air and found its mark, etching a permanent place in the memories of all who witnessed it. This was not just a shot; it was a statement, earning him the title of Central Bank Player of the Game.
The Wildcats of Newport, who had battled valiantly, saw their hopes wane in the final 20 seconds as two turnovers turned the tide against them. Newport's Taylen Kinney (29 points), in a moment of brilliance, had given his team a glimmer of hope. His runner, a smooth and precise maneuver, had propelled Newport to a 46-45 lead with just 48.6 seconds left. The crowd was abuzz, the possibility of an upset hanging tantalizingly in the air.