• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports

Jackets crush Western Hills, start season 4-0


The Woodford County High School boys' basketball team remains undefeated after a 67-35 road win at district rival Western Hills on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The Jackets outplayed the Wolverines from midway through the first quarter until the final buzzer. The Jackets defense held the Wolverines to just 10 second half points.

“I'm happy with how the guys responded tonight,” said Coach Ryan Wilson. “We had a shaky start but I was encouraged how they decided to find a way to fight and figure it out. Some games you start slow and this was one of those nights. We are happy to be 4-0 and have our first district win under our belt.

The Wolverines started quick with two layups and a slam dunk that gave them an early 6-2 lead. On the Wolverines next possession, junior Brandon Cromwell stole the ball at half court and strolled in for an easy layup to cut the lead in half. Sophomore Anthony Tabor swished a three-pointer and the started to feed the post players. Senior Nick Smith made a pretty turn around shot in the post and Tabor hit another three pointer to stay with the Wolverines in the first. The game was tied 17-17 after one quarter.

Both teams started the second quarter with turnovers and offensive fouls. Neither team could find rhythm until Cromwell broke free for a layup. Cromwell hit a three-pointer next time down the floor. The Jackets pressured the Wolverines and forced them to make mistakes. The Jackets next four baskets were all layups off of bad passes from the Wolverines. Junior Ryan Duke made plays at both ends of the floor drawing a pair of charges on the Wolverines and hitting jump shots from the foul line. Duke hit a half court shot at the halftime buzzer to make the score 40-25.

“We were riding high coming into this game,” said Duke. “ Any time you play a district game, you expect a battle and we came ready for one. We didn't have much energy to start the game but we perked up in the second quarter and never looked back.”

The third quarter started with a Wolverine turnover and the Jackets made them pay. Tabor found Smith in the post for a quick basket and the next time down the court, Tabor hit his third three-pointer of the game. The Jackets were pulling away in the game and their defense grew stronger. The Wolverines missed seven straight shots in the third quarter and the Jackets were making nearly everything they put up. The score was 60-31 at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter the Jackets were relentless in their rebounding. The Wolverines could not keep the Jackets from having second and third chances at the basket. The Jackets sent their second unit in and the domination continued with sophomore Sean Perkins taking over scoring in the post and hitting jumpers from 12 feet. Junior Alex Morgan scored the final basket of the game and the Woodford bench celebrated.

“I was really happy to contribute to this win,” said Perkins. “We would not let them play their game and we were able to dictate the pace of the game and it feels great.”

Anderson County

On Friday, Dec. 1, the Jackets won 60-47 at Anderson County. The game was close from start to finish and the Jackets won the game with hustle plays that kept possessions alive. Woodford's scrappy play allowed for more second chance baskets and that was the difference in the game. The Bearcats had a packed house for their season opening game and the crowd was loud for the entire game.

In the first quarter, The Jackets jumped out to an 11-4 lead with driving baskets by Smith and Tabor. George's effort on the glass was terrific in the first quarter getting to nearly every loose ball that came his way. The Bearcats did not back down from the Jackets attack and broke the pressure for layups. Cromwell and freshman Hunter Penn each made layups in the last minute of the first quarter to give the Jackets a 15-12 after the one quarter of play.

The Bearcats hit a quick three and the game was tied to start the second quarter. The Jackets responded with George hitting jumpshots at the foul line on consecutive trips down the court. Smith with a layup in traffic forced the Bearcats to call timeout. The Bearcats scored on three consecutive possessions to cut the Jacket lead to two points. George hit a running one handed shot and Smith was fouled scoring a layup at the halftime buzzer but missed the free throw. The Jackets led 29-24 at the half.

The third quarter started slow for both teams. Nearly three minutes passed before either team scored. The Jackets started to take control of the game and scoring points off of turnovers. Tabor was aggressive taking the ball to the basket in the second half. The Bearcats could not stop his ability to penetrate and when they did collpase on him down low, he would find an open shooter with a pass. The Jackets led 38-35 at the end of the third quarter.

Early in the fourth, George stole the ball at half court and had an easy layup and Cromwell also scored an uncontested layup. Cromwell had three straight trips to the foul line but only hit one free throw each time. The Bearcats attempted six three-pointers in the final two minutes making two, But it was not enough and the Jackets held on 58-48. Smith led all scorers with 17 points and also led in rebounds with 11.

“We knew it would be a tough game tonight and it's nice to walk out of here with a win,” said Penn. “They played us well and tried to get us out of our game but we knew if we stuck with the game plan that everything would be fine and it was.”

Grant Co

WCHS boys' basketball team cruised to a 94-61 victory at home over Grant County on Thursday, Nov. 30. There was an extra buzz in the gym for this game as Markelle Fultz, the number one pick in the 2017 NBA draft was in attendance for the game.

The Jackets defense turned the Braves over 11 times in the first half creating easy baskets. The Jackets were swarming to the ball and that defensive intensity wore down the Braves to create more easy chances in the second half.

“I'm not sure we were ready for the up and down style that Grant County wanted to play,” said Wilson. “I like how we adjusted to the pressure early and I am really pleased with how we passed the ball. We made the extra pass that got the right look at the basket. I haven't seen the stats yet but I have a feeling that a majority of our points came off of assists tonight. We talk about the basketball Gods a lot. When you give someone the extra pass, that extra pass always finds you later in the game. It was fun to watch.”

In the first quarter, both teams exchanged baskets on the first two possessions of the game. Smith drove hard to the basket and was fouled as the ball dropped in the basket. Smith converted the free throw and the jackets stole the ball at half-court. Cromwell missed the jump shot but junior Justin Alexander grabbed the offensive rebound and scored the basket. The Braves came back down and scored on a jump shot but the Jackets came back with a Smith three-pointer to make the score 10-4. Woodford continued to create offensive chances by playing solid defense. George went coast to coast after stealing the ball and finished with the easy layup. Grant County adjusted their game plan and began to shoot more three-pointers after being stopped in the paint on three straight plays. After back to back threes by the Braves, Smith scored on a spectacular drive to the basket weaving through three Brave defenders for the layup. The Jackets took a double digit lead into the second quarter.

“I felt like this was a good win tonight,” said Smith. “We played really good defensively and were able to create extra chances. It's a team effort, We play help defense and always looking to deny a shot. If someone makes a mistake, we try to jump on it and go to the basket.”

In the second quarter, the Jackets started with hot shooting from Cromwell. The Jackets were relentless in their rebounding efforts and keeping possessions alive. George had a pair of plays where he ripped the ball away from Brave defenders in mid-air and passed the ball to Cromwell who drained both three-point attempts. Junior Ryan Duke hit a three-pointer late in the quarter, the Braves answered with a three of their own and then Cromwell hit another three-pointer. The Jackets led 59-36 at halftime.

In the second half, the Jackets continued to hustle and make good decisions with the basketball and the Braves were helpless to stop the Jackets inside-out attack. Tabor scored on back-to-back layups and then George scored and was fouled during a layup. George and a pair of defenders crashed to the floor before being helped up by Smith and Cromwell. The Jackets were able to get the bench some valuable minutes on the floor and the reserves kept up the pressure until the final horn. Cromwell led the Jackets in scoring with 25 points and made all four three-point attempts. Smith had 18 points and Tabor scored 13. George led in rebounding with nine rebounds including four offensive boards. Tabor led the way in assists with seven.

“I thought we looked sharp tonight,” said Tabor. “I keep looking for Cromwell and Smith on the wing and they keep knocking them down. Defensively, we are coming at everyone hard. If we can play fearless then we know we can control a game with our pressure.”

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