WCHS boys’ basketball team loses to Commodores
On the team’s first possession, senior Keagan Stromberg pulled down a rebound in the lane and then jumped high above all of the Tates Creek defenders and his own players, took a shot, and gave the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 lead.
Unfortunately, while Stromberg scored again on Woodford’s second possession, again a two-pointer, and sophomore Brandon Cromwell scored a three-pointer on the team’s third possession, Tates Creek hit a jump shot and four 3-pointers in a row to take a 14-7 lead on the way to a 57-37 victory.
“They (Tates Creek) did a great job,” said Woodford head coach Ryan Wilson.
“They played faster, stronger, tougher, played with more energy. You know, everything we talked about a couple weeks ago about the Western Hills game. But, I give them all the credit. They had a great game plan. With their zone, (they) took away a lot of what we want to try to do. I congratulate them. I give them all the credit in the world.”
With the loss, Woodford is now 3-3 on the season, 2-3 in the region and 1-1 in the district.
After Tates Creek took the 14-7 lead, senior Corey George hit a nice jump shot from near the foul line, which was followed by one of two free throws by the Commodores that made it 15-9 at the end of the first quarter.
At the start of the second quarter, Stromberg struck for two more points, but Tates Creek answered with another three-pointer to make it a 18-11 ball game.
Woodford statyed clase as senior Trevor White answered back with a three-pointer to make it 18-14.
But, once again, Tates Creek came down the floor and hit another three-pointer to take a 21-14 lead. In fact, while Stromberg hit two more jump shots, the Commodores seemed to stun the Yellow Jackets when they hit two more three-pointers, and two free throws, on the way to a 29-18 lead at the half.
“When they (Tates Creek) knocked down and made (those) threes, that was kind of unexpected,” said Wilson. “But, at the same time, (when) they made those threes, you kind of just saw the body language of our guys go away. It was down. They were deflated. It was almost like they were defeated at that moment. And we were never in a bad position.”
Woodford started the third quarter the same way as the first two, with Stromberg getting the ball on a fast break and striking for two points to make it 29-20. But Tates Creek struck back once again with a three-pointer to take a 32-20 lead.
The two teams then exchanged baskets and free throws the rest of the quarter. Then, with the score 38-29 with 1.5 seconds left in the third quarter, the Commodores hit another three-point dagger from “way downtown,” as they say, which gave them a 41-29 lead at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, while Woodford continued to try and fight back, Tates Creek just maintained its lead. Then, over the last four minutes of the contest, the two teams did nothing but exchange fouls and free throws, which did not allow the Yellow Jackets any chance to catch up.
When the game came to an end, Tates Creek had the win, 57-37.
“Again, it just goes back to the toughness and a little bit of heart,” said Wilson. “We talked in the locker room. I said, ‘The fact that we (scored) 37; we’re going to have to live with those games because they’re going to happen again. But what I’m not okay with is letting our offense dictate our defense. If we only score 37, then we’re going to have to only give up 36 if we want to win and be successful.’ So, it’s something we’re going to have to work on and learn from.”
Stromberg led Woodford in the game with 10 points and one rebound. Three other players, Cromwell, White and junior Nicholas Smith had six points each, while White had three points and two rebounds.
Wilson also noted the play of junior Zack Fleming, who played some of his first minutes on the varsity team.
“It was really nice to see Zack Fleming, one of our juniors, (playing for the) first time in a varsity game. He’s a young man that’s continually busting his tail in practice and doing exactly what we ask. He’s not going to be a stat-killer guy, but he goes out and gets deflections and he takes it to the basket hard (which) takes some confidence. That’s what we want from all our guys.
“So, it was nice to see him step up off the bench. And, I think the guys see that. They see his success and we make sure to point it out and I think it’s a learning opportunity for them to say, ‘Hey, if he does exactly what coach wants him to do he’s going to get some time and maybe that’s what I need to do.’ I’m very proud of him and, hopefully, he’ll continue to build on that.”
Next up, Woodford plays two tournaments. The first is the Farmers Bank of Jessamine County tournament on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 22 and 23. They face East Jessamine on Dec. 22 at 8 p.m. at East Jessamine, and Harlan County on Friday, Dec. 23, at noon, also at East Jessamine. The final game on Friday is to be determined.