They started the day with a last-second game winner and ended it with a state championship. After winning seven games over three days, the Owensboro Middle School boys’ basketball 8th-grade team won their first state title in program history Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Kyle Magill said winning both the conference and state championship were a nice end to the season.
“Any time you have an opportunity to win a championship, it is special,” he sad. “We won our conference championship last week, but this is different. This is the state tournament. We are state champions.”
Magill said his guys played hard and unselfishly, and they handled adversity well.
The first game Sunday was against Crosby, and the teams were tied 50-50 with only seconds to play. Kenyatta Carbon banked in a runner from the lane for the win.
“It was a great shot that was defended,” Magill said. “Kenyatta just made a play.”
The Devils then beat Northern Pulaski in the semifinals before taking down Lincoln County in the final.
Carbon was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, though Magill said several of his players were just as deserving. Carbon gave them the extra spark, though.
“Honestly this award could have gone to several of our guys but Kenyatta was the one that got us going,” Magill said. “He was scoring the ball at the rim as well as hitting key 3-point shots, and he was setting up teammates for easy buckets. Kenyatta is a really good basketball player and his best playing days are in front of him.”
He said it was a fitting end to a year that was fueled by talented players and support from the community. The bond among players, Magill said, helped them be successful.
“Every kid had a role on the team and they all understood their role,” he said. “They are a unselfish and they all get along. They celebrate each other’s successes and they don’t care who is getting shots or scoring points. They just want to win.”
Magill said every player made significant contributions during the year and commented on each one:
• Guards Cayman Powell and Kenyatta Carbon were instrumental all year at dictating pace of play and getting the game up-tempo.
• Talas Taylor was the lead guy on the full court press, and he got things going with deflections and steals. He was also a timely shooter, hitting key 3-point shots.
• Big guys Trey Miller and Ethan Pendleton were anchors inside. They can score with their back to the basket or by getting offensive rebounds and putbacks.
• Jalen Rogers was typically the first off the bench. He brought energy and some extra ball handling and shooting.
• Kasey Boone is an expert 3-point shooter, almost guaranteeing a bucket when he got an open look.
• Jeremiah Goodwin was usually the first big guy off the bench. He brought a physical presence and was counted on to pull down rebounds and make layups.
• Khalil Rogers and Zach Clark were energy guys off the bench. They played with high motors and gave maximum effort every second they were in. Both players improved tremendously during the season.
• Drelan Bonds and Kanye Johnson were also role players off the bench. They knew their roles and played them well.
• Chris Glover was a 7th-grader that went with the team. He’s a really nice player and it was a great experience for him.
With the Owensboro High School team having a successful season — they locked up the No. 1 see in the 9th District tournament with a win Friday and ran through the 3rd Region undefeated — Magill said his group of players have a bright future.
“OHS has outstanding coaches over there and they are going to continue to teach and coach these 8th-graders up,” he said. “Red Devil basketball will always run this city, and I am just glad to be a part of it.”
No. 1 Cayman Powell
No. 2 Kenyatta Carbon
No. 3 Jalen Rogers
No. 12 Kasey Boone
No. 15 Jeremiah Goodwin
No. 20 Drelan Bonds
No. 21 Zach Clark
No. 22 Talas Taylor
No. 23 Ethan Pendleton
No. 24 Khalil Rogers
No. 33 Kanye Johnson
No. 34 Chris Glover
No. 35 Trey Miller
Water boys Kyle Hardison and Max Kahn
Head coach Kyle Magill
Assistant coach Mark Kahn
7th-grade coaches Troy Hardison and Anthony Tate