• Rick Capone, Sports Editor

Jackets defeat Frankfort in district game

ALEX CASON brings the ball down the court for the Woodford County High School boys’ basketball team in its 70-45 win over district opponent Frankfort at home in The Hive on Saturday, Jan. 28. Cason, who scored the first seven points of the game for the Yellow Jackets, finished the night with 13 points. (Photo by Rick Capone)

The Woodford County High School boys’ basketball team hosted district opponent Frankfort in The Hive on Saturday, Jan. 28, and the Jackets were not graceful hosts, as they built an early 18-7 lead and went on to a 70-45 win. The Yellow Jackets are now on a four-game win streak. In addition to the win over Frankfort, the other three wins for Woodford came over Owen County 61-43 on Saturday, Jan. 21, Collins 51-50, on Tuesday, Jan. 24, and Harrison County 70-57 on Wednesday, Jan. 25. After winning the last three games, “…I think the confidence is just continuing to build in each other and in themselves,” said Woodford head coach Ryan Wilson. “We talked to them in the locker room there just a minute ago, and I think they’re really starting to buy into what I’ve been trying to tell them all year long about defense and sharing the ball and letting the ball come back to them. I think they’re slowly and surely starting to realize that I’m not just a crazy old man, but actually may know what I’m talking about. So, it’s been nice these past four games watching them grow in confidence and grow as a team.” Woodford is now 13-11 overall, 4-8 in the region and 4-2 in the district and tied with Franklin County. There will be a coin toss to see who will be the No. 1 seed in the 41st District tournament. Senior Alex Cason was the go-to player for Woodford at the start of the game with Frankfort. In fact, after hitting a three-pointer and a pair of two-pointers, he was the only early scorer for Woodford and gave his team a 7-5 lead. Senior Keagan Stromberg was the other Woodford player with a hot-hand in the game, as he hit a two-pointer and a three-pointer to make it a 12-5 game. Following a basket by Frankfort, Cason hit for two points, and Stromberg hit two more baskets to make it 18-7. The first quarter ended with Frankfort making two free throws and a basket, while sophomore Benjamin Nash hit a three-pointer and senior Trevor White hit a two-pointer, to give Woodford a 23-11 lead. In the second quarter, Woodford kept control of the game. With the score 24-13, Stromberg hit a pull-up jumper and Cason made a putback to make it a 28-13 ball game. Frankfort then made two baskets before Nash hit for two and Stromberg made a putback to give the Yellow Jackets a 32-17 lead. Frankfort then made one final shot in the quarter to close the first half 32-19. The third quarter saw Woodford continue to pull away from Frankfort, with Stromberg hitting two baskets while Cromwell made a three-pointer, a two-pointer and two free throws. Frankfort only made two baskets and one free throw, which gave Woodford a 43-24 lead. The Yellow Jackets continued to pour it on and with the score 50-29, senior Trevor White hit a two-pointer to end the third quarter with Woodford in the lead, 52-29. As the fourth quarter opened, Stromberg made a shot, was fouled and hit the free throw to make it a 58-31 ball game. Frankfort responded with two baskets, but Cromwell answered with a short jumper and Woodford led 60-35. “It was one of those games (that Brandon) knows he has to shoot it,” said Wilson. “I think he knows for us to be successful he’s got to shoot them and make them. And that’s the thing about him. He’s not worried about the one that he missed; he’s thinking about the next shot that he’s going to make. It’s always nice to have a guy on the floor like that. “But, at the same time, I think that everybody’s kind of been building on each other and everybody is shooting with confidence. So, it’s a good feeling when you are a coach knowing that you don’t have to worry about telling the guy to shoot it. They’re just going to go out there and play basketball.” The Yellow Jackets’ defense continued to stop much of the Frankfort offense, while their rebounding also was strong, something Wilson has noted all season long. “I think, all year long, we’ve been right there either equally rebounding the teams, if not, surpassing them on the boards,” said Wilson. “For overall size, I think that’s pretty impressive. And, I was telling them, too, it’s interesting that, right now, I think we’re 17th in the state in overall team defense. “That’s one thing we’ve been taking pride in a lot more this year is really keeping teams down in points.” In fact, in its last game, Frankfort defeated Nicholas County 101-71, yet Woodford held the Panthers to just 45 points in the game. According to Wilson, he thought that out of those 45, his team gave them a few. “I’m always telling them I think we can do better,” he said, “but I’m really proud of the effort and toughness they showed.” With the lead 62-40 and under four minutes to go, Stromberg made a baseline drive to the hoop to make it 64-40. Then, a couple minutes later with the score 66-42, Stromberg stole the ball, dribbled down court and then hit Cromwell with a nice pass under the basket for two more points to make it 68-42. Cromwell finished the game with 14 points, while Stromberg had a team-high 27 points. In addition, Cason had 13 points, Nash and junior Nick Smith had five points each, while White, senior Griffin Mobley and junior Zack Fleming had two points each. Wilson then put in his bench players and the two teams swapped baskets to end the game 70-45 in Woodford’s favor. Next up, Woodford had two games coming up. The first is at home against Casey County on Friday, Feb. 3, at 8:15. Then, they go on the road to play West Jessamine on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 7:30 p.m.

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