• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports

Jackets place seventh at Smoky Mountain Classic

SENIOR POINT GUARD PEYTON ROSE is averaging 7.1 points per game for the Lady Jackets this season. (Photo by Bill Caine)

The Woodford County High School girls' basketball team competed in the Smoky Mountain Classic in Gatlinburg on Dec 21-23. The Lady Jackets were banged up in the tournament and went 1-2.

The Lady Jackets started the tournament with a loss to Pikeville, 37-27.

“Pikeville was a tough draw for us to start,” said WCHS Coach Steve Jaco. “They are a physical team that runs a man to man and they press you every chance they get. Peyton Rose was injured early on and we had a hard time dealing with her absence. We had some kids battling illness and it was just a rough overall start to the tournament.”

With Rose's injury, the Lady Jackets turned to sophomore Abbie Hudson to play point guard. Kayla Harlow and Anna Manges played more minutes as well.

“We go eight deep most games,” said Jaco. “Any time you lose a starting player, the team is left trying to fill the hole.”

In the second round, the Lady Jackets lost to Austin East, Tenn., 43-42 in a closely contested game.

“We had Abbie (Hudson) get banged up for us in that game,” said Jaco. She caught an elbow in the jaw and it scared us.”

In the last game of the tournament, Woodford won 64-28 over New Way Christian, Tex.

“New Way is a new basketball program that is looking to find its identity,”said Jaco. “They played hard, but our girls were much more experienced. We are trying to get well right now. “

“Despite the illness and injuries, the girls were able to spend time together and bond,” said Jaco. “The team did some sightseeing and visited the aquarium.”

The Lady Jackets will play in the Elite Insurance Solutions Lady Lions Classic, Dec. 28-30 in Garrard County.

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