• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Lady Jackets lose in OT to Western Hills in districts

The Woodford County High School girls’ basketball season came to a dramatic end in overtime in the 41st District Tournament against Western Hills on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the Frankfort Civic Center. Down 54-52 with 4.1 seconds to go in regulation, senior Caitlin Ferguson put up a three-pointer that missed, but eighth-grader Delany Enlow, who was playing with an injured ankle, got the rebound and scored to tie it 54-54 and send the game into overtime. The two sides then traded points throughout the overtime period until Western Hills took a 68-66 lead with time running out and Ferguson on the bench after fouling out. The Lady Jackets next missed an opportunity to get a play off, then missed two free throws, which gave the Lady Wolverines the win, 68-66. “I just told them how hard we played the entire game, lots of guts and lots of heart,” said Woodford head coach Jay Lucas. “We never gave up. Even when Caitlin (Ferguson) fouled out, I thought we could still win the game. We had a chance at the end of overtime for a nice shot. We ran a (play) on the out of bounds and just threw the pass a little bit too high. We turned it over and they went down and hit the game winner.” In the championship game on Friday, Feb. 26, Franklin County defeated Western Hill 77-46. Both teams advanced to the 11th Region Tournament, which will be played at Eastern Kentucky University, Monday through Saturday, Feb. 29 to March 5. Following the championship game, Enlow and sophomore Peyton Rose were both named to the 41st All-District Tournament team. In addition, Ferguson was named to 11th All-Region team for the regular season. She is one of only 12 players named to the team. In their game against Western Hills, the two teams battled back and forth, with both teams within striking distance of the other the entire way. In the first quarter, Woodford took an early 5-3 lead following a basket by Enlow, only to see Western Hills tie it on a putback, and then take a 7-5 lead on another basket. The Lady Jackets regained the lead 8-7 on a three-pointer by Rose, then fell behind 11-8 on two baskets by the Lady Wolverines. Following another basket by Enlow, which made it 11-10, Western Hills scored three more points on a basket and a free throw to take a 14-10 lead at the end of the opening quarter. Western Hills opened the second quarter with two quick baskets to take an 18-10 lead, but a pass by Rose to Enlow under the basket was good for two points to make it an 18-12 ball game. The Lady Wolverines scored six more points, but in between their baskets, a two-pointer by eighth-grader Kasey Abel, and three three-pointers by Ferguson, and the Jackets had cut Western Hills’ lead to one point, 24-23. Woodford then took the lead, 26-24, on a three-point play by eighth-grader Abby Moffett. But, it was short-lived as Western Hills hit a layup with 8.5 seconds to go in the half to tie the game, 26-26, as the teams went into the locker room for the break. The third quarter opened with Woodford taking a 30-28 lead on a three-pointer by Moffett and Rose hitting one of two free throws, while Western Hills scored a two-pointer. A short time later, with Western Hills up 33-30, Ferguson drove down the baseline and hit a short, pull-up jumper to make it 33-32. The Lady Wolverines came right back with two points, before Rose hit a three-pointer to tie it 35-35. Western Hills then scored five points on two baskets and a free throw to take a 40-35 lead, but Abel hit two baskets, with one of them coming on a nice shot from the corner, to help Woodford get within one point, 40-39. Then, with the quarter winding down, the Lady Wolverines scored again to make it a 42-29 ball game going into the final stanza. In the fourth quarter, the teams played it close the entire way and tied three times, 46-46, 50-50, and 52-52, before Western Hills took a 54-52 lead with under a minute to go in regulation. Woodford tried desperately to make an inbounds play, but two times, the Western Hills defense held strong and the ball went out of bounds. Then, with 4.1 seconds left in regulation, Ferguson took a three-point shot, which missed, but landed in Enlow’s hands under the basket, and she took it right to the basket for two points to tie the game 54-54 and send the game into overtime. In overtime, Western Hills opened with two free throws and a two-pointer. However, Enlow took over and scored seven points on two baskets and a three-point play to give Woodford a 61-58 lead. A short while later, with Woodford ahead 62-61, Ferguson fouled out and Western Hills hit two free throws to take a 63-62 lead. Rose was then fouled on two consecutive plays and hit all four of her free throws to give the Lady Jackets a 66-63 lead, but the Lady Wolverines responded with a three-pointer to tie the game 66-66, and then followed that with a steal, which led to a two-pointer that gave them a 68-66 lead with one second showing on the clock. Woodford tried to run a play, which resulted with Rose being fouled with .3 seconds to go. But, in one of those heartbreaking moments in sports, the sophomore missed the free throws and Western Hills got the win, 68-66. In the game, Enlow led the team with a double-double, scoring 18 points and pulling down 15 rebounds. “She (Enlow) had an injured ankle, but she came out and was ready to play,” said Lucas. “I thought Delaney Enlow and Caitlin Ferguson and Peyton Rose; all three played really well. And, then Kasey (Abel) gave us a big lift off the bench.” Rose finished with 17 points and five rebounds, while Ferguson had 13 points and 5 rebounds. “She (Rose) is a tough girl,” said Lucas after the game. “She’s taking it pretty hard where she missed the free throws there at the end. But she’s a tough girl and she did a good job. “I thought (Caitlin) was very good tonight,” Lucas continued. “She did a lot of other things besides scoring for us. You know, they boxed-and-chased her for three-fourths of the game. She got 13 points. She scored when she needed to score. She brought us back in the second quarter, because we were down and not playing very well, and she hit three threes in the second quarter that got us back in the game.” In addition, Moffett and Abel had nine points each, with Moffett getting one rebound, Abel getting three rebounds and eighth-grader Allison Birch getting one rebound. As to the future and what’s in store for Woodford next year, Lucas said, “It’ll be exciting. Our future is exciting. We’re certainly going to miss our three seniors, Caitlin, Sydney (Fugate) and Erica (Hysell), but we’ve got a lot of good players coming back."

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