Those fans who decided to call it a night early missed the best game of the Friday slate at the Marshall County Hoop Fest.
UK signees Andrew and Aaron Harrison battled with Louisville commitment Quentin Snider until nearly midnight local time. About a third of the capacity crowd had left the gym by the time the buzzer sounded, but those who were left made plenty of noise in the final minutes.
Aaron Harrison converted two free throws with :29.5 remaining to lift Fort Bend Travis to a 78-76 victory over Ballard in a matchup between one of the nation’s top teams and the No. 1-rated squad in Kentucky.
Ballard, led by Snider, trailed for most of the game. The Louisville commitment made a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left to tie it at 76. The junior point guard finished with 28 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Aaron Harrison won the game’s MVP honors with 28 points, five rebounds and four steals. Andrew Harrison added 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
“I really wanted to impress the Kentucky fans — give them a good show,” Aaron said. “I know some drove a long way to some see me play. I just wanted to give them their money’s worth.”
The final four minutes alone were worth the price of admission.
With Ballard down three points, Snider made a flashy no-look pass that led to a Travis foul. A short time later, he buried a contested three-pointer.
Things were chippy on the court — hard fouls all around — and in the stands. The remaining fans were mostly there to see the Harrisons, but a small contingent of Ballard supporters made the trip west to cheer on their top-ranked Bruins.
The Ballard faithful didn’t go easy on the Harrisons, heckling them every trip down the court. At one point, Aaron looked into the stands, gave them a little smile and shook his head.
“It definitely gave us some motivation at the end,” he said.
The UK fans didn’t back down either. They booed Snider when he drew a foul while stiff-arming a Travis defender. The boos turned to cheers when Snider missed the ensuing free throw.
“I felt like the atmosphere was just a whole bunch of Kentucky fans,” he said. “It was good though.”
After Aaron Harrison hit the two free throws that eventually decided it, Ballard had one more trip down the floor. But Aaron came up with a big defensive stop, and the Bruins never got a shot off.
“We were about to knock ’em off. We had ’em,” Snider said. “It’s just … those twins, man. They’re good.”