• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports

Jackets struggle at Toyota Classic

WCHS SENIOR NICK SMITH attempts a shot over a Scott County defender in the Jackets’ loss during the opening round of the Toyotoa Classic on Jan. 18. (Photo by Bill Caine)

WCHS JUNIOR BEN NASH drives to the basket in the Jackets’ loss to Scott County during the opening round of the Toyota Classic on Jan. 18. (Photo by Bill Caine)

The Woodford County High School boys' basketball team went 1-2 at the Toyota Classic in Georgetown on Jan. 18-20. The tournament featured some of the best teams in the bluegrass area for three straight days. The event was delayed one day due to weather.

On Saturday, Jan. 20,the Jackets beat Taylor County 58-51 in round three of the Toyota Classic. The Jackets jumped out to an early three point lead after one quarter thanks to some hot shooting from junior Brandon Cromwell who hit a pair of threes.

In the second quarter, Taylor County hit three from long range and pressured the Jackets defensively. WCHS senior Nick Smith scored seven in the second quarter to maintain the lead for the Jackets heading into halftime.

In the third quarter, junior Anthony Tabor nailed a three from the top of the key and added a layup for the Jackets and Cromwell scored six. The Jackets took a five point lead into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth, The Jackets held their lead throughout the quarter and the Cardinals were forced to foul in the final minutes. Cromwell scored seven points including three free throws. Tabor added five free throws to seal the win for the Jackets.

On Friday, Jan. 19, the Oldham County Colonels beat the Jackets 67-60 in the second game of the tournament. The Jackets started slow scoring only six points in the first quarter to the Colonels 15. The Jackets struggles continued in the second quarter as they were outscored 20-10 and trailed by 19 points at halftime. Freshman Hunter Penn led the Jackets with six pointsin the half.

In the third quarter, the Jackets were much more aggressive and outplayed the Colonels for the entire eight minutes. Cromwell scored seven points in the quarter and Smith added six to help cut the deficit to eight points heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth, Cromwell and Tabor each scored seven points to keep the Jackets in the game but Jackson Gibson was terrific for the Colonels. Gibson scored 12 of his 18 points in the final quarter to seal the win for Oldham County.

The WCHS boys basketball team suffered a 42 point loss to Scott County on Thursday, Jan. 18 in the opening round of the 23rd annual Toyota Classic. The Cardinals size was a matchup nightmare for the Jackets who trailed by 15 points at the end of the first quarter. The Cardinal lead grew to 25 points by halftime and the Jackets were left stunned by the onslaught and lost 87-45.

“We started the game without any toughness or energy and I think that set the tone for the entire contest,” said WCHS Coach Ryan Wilson. “Scott County came out and punched us in the mouth and we did not have a response to their intensity. We cannot come into a game and play on our heels. We knew what to expect tonight, but we were not up to the task.”

Scott County started the game game on a 12-0 run and the Jackets had four turnovers during that stretch. Cromwell scored the first basket of the game for the Jackets but the Cardinals answered with a 6-0 run to push the lead to 18-2 with three minutes to play in the quarter. After a Woodford timeout, Tabor made a long three-pointer and Cromwell added another three late in the quarter and the Jackets trailed 23-8 heading into the second frame.

In the second quarter, Scott County was relentless in their defensive approach. The Cardinals continued to turn over the Jackets and convert with easy baskets to start the quarter on a 12-0 run. Tabor scored on a floater to break the drought for the Jackets but the Cardinals came right back and nailed a pair of three-pointers prompting a timeout by Wilson. Tabor hit a three and junior Ben Nash scored on a mid range jumper but the Cardinal finished the quarter with another pair of three-pointer's to push the lead to 25 points at halftime.

The Cardinals started the third quarter on a 8-0 run before WCHS junior Corey George hit a jumper from the foul line. Tabor scored the next time down on a shot from the left corner and the Jackets were on a 4-0 run. Scott County slowed down their offense and passed the ball around the perimeter. The Jacket defense collapsed on a driving point guard and the Cardinals made them pay by hitting a pair of wide open threes in the corner. Cromwell scored four straight points for the Jackets and George scored after grabbing an offensive rebound. Scott County finished on a 4-0 run to push the lead to 29 points after three quarters.

In the fourth, Ben Nash nailed a three-pointer and senior Nick Smith drove to the basket and scored while being fouled. Smith made the free throw to complete the three-point play. Scott County continued to fire the three-pointers and made them consistently. The Cardinal's shot 54 percent from downtown and the Jackets had no answer for the hot shooting. With four minutes to play, Wilson put in the reserves highlighted by WCHS junior Alex Morgan nailing a three-pointer in the front of the Woodford bench. Scott County ended the game on a 7-0 run.

“Give a lot of credit to Scott County because they know what they want to do and they do it well,” said Wilson. “We allowed them to do what they planned on doing and that is the opposite of everything we said we needed to do in order to have a chance tonight. Mentally and physically, this was not our best game.”

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