• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

WCHS boys’ basketball falls to Henry Clay at region

KEAGAN STROMBERG goes for a layup during the Woodford County High School boys’ basketball opening-round game against Henry Clay in the 11th Region Basketball Tournament at Eastern Kentucky University’s Paul S. McBrayer Arena on Thursday, March 3. Stromberg led the team with 10 points in the game, which Henry Clay won 72-41. (Photo by Rick Capone)

The Woodford County High School boys’ basketball season came to an unceremonious end on Thursday, March 3, as they lost 72-41 to Henry Clay in the first round of the 11th Region Basketball tournament, which was played at Eastern Kentucky University’s Paul S. McBrayer Arena. With the loss, the Yellow Jackets finish the season 14-17 overall, 9-7 in region competition and 6-2 in district competition. The team also finished as the runner-up in the 41st District Basketball tournament. “I am disappointed in the outcome of (Thursday) night’s regional game at EKU versus Henry Clay,” said Woodford head coach Scott Hundley. “I thought we faced a very good team in Henry Clay, but I also thought we didn’t give them our best shot. We had a lack of discipline and cohesion in how we played.” Henry Clay used its speed and a smothering defense to stop Woodford at almost every turn in the game, which resulted in the Blue Devils leading a rough-and-tumble game from the opening basket to the final buzzer. Both teams came out “flying” in the first quarter, as they ran up-and-down the court like the Coyote chasing the Roadrunner. Unfortunately, the Yellow Jackets played the Coyote to the Blue Devils’ Roadrunner, as Henry Clay opened up an early 9-0 lead before Woodford scored on a two-pointer by junior Alex Cason. Henry Clay put two more points on the scoreboard, and then senior Keegan Stromberg scored on a breakaway to make it 11-4. Following four more points by Henry Clay, Stromberg made a nice drive along the baseline for two points, but missed a free throw to complete a three-point play, which made it 15-6. The Blue Devils then scored five more points to Woodford’s two by senior Jonathan Colley and at the end of the first quarter, Henry Clay led 20-8. During that first quarter, play got pretty rough, as the referees let the game go unchecked. Then with 42.6 seconds left in the quarter, bodies started flying all over the floor, and the referees sent both teams to the bench while they talked. The result: Woodford got two free throws, and missed both of them, while the rough play continued throughout the remainder of the game. Luckily there were no injuries, but there were a couple scuffles. The second quarter was much like the first, with Henry Clay scoring, seemingly, with ease, while the Blue Devils’ defense stopped Woodford steals, blocked shots and rebounds. By the end of the game, Henry Clay outrebounded Woodford 41-24 in total; 20-6 on the offensive boards and 21-18 on the defensive boards. Still, the Yellow Jackets fought hard, getting a basket by senior Wesley White, a two-pointer and a three-pointer by Stewart, and free throws by Stromberg and junior Malik Richards, but the Blue Devils still had a big lead, 40-18, at the half. The third quarter was a mirror image of the first two, as Henry Clay scored 16 points in the stanza, while Woodford only got two points by Richards and two free throws by Stromberg. Then came the best play of the night for Woodford, as Stromberg scored on a nice three-point play near the end of the third quarter. Still, at the end of three, Henry Clay led by 35 points, 56-21. The fourth-quarter was the most contested quarter of the game, as Woodford scored 14 points to Henry Clay’s 16. But, in the end, the Blue Devils came out on top, 72-41. Stromberg led the Yellow Jackets with 10 points, while Richards had eight points, Stewart had seven points, senior Tucker Sly had five points, and White had three points. In addition, four players, freshman Brandon Cromwell, Cason, and juniors Benjamin Denton and Griffin Mobley, had two points each.

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