LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Kentucky commitment Derek Willis will be playing in Rupp Arena next week, thanks to a 35-foot buzzer-beater from his teammate in Tuesday night's Sixth Region final at Bellarmine University.
Willis, the 6-foot-9 forward, and Bullitt East High School will be playing in their second consecutive KHSAA Boys' Sweet Sixteen - played at Willis' future college arena - after knocking off Louisville's Pleasure Ridge Park 47-44 on the game-ending heave by the Chargers' Trey Rakes. (Video below)
PRP had a chance to win the game on the previous possession, but the Panthers' Max Clemons, a Bellarmine signee, was called for a charging foul on a drive to the basket with 3.5 seconds left.
That set up Rakes' heroics. He took the inbounds pass from under his own basket, raced down the right side of the court and flung the winning shot in front of his team's bench. The Bullitt East student section stormed the court.
Willis, ranked as the nation's No. 23 junior, was the star of the game otherwise, leading Bullitt East with 22 points on 8-of-22 shootin and 14 rebounds. He and Rakes, who finished with 10 points, were named to the all-regional team.
UK fans wanting to get a look at the future Cat can see his team take on top-ranked Louisville Trinity of the Seventh Region at 6:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, March 14 at Rupp.