• Bill Caine, Woodford Sun Sports Editor

Scrappy Yellow Jackets fall a basket short at Toyota Classic

The Woodford County High School boys' basketball team reached the finals of the Toyota Classic but fell two points short in a 64-62 loss to Scott County Jan. 20. The game was well-played on both sides leaving people at Scott County High School saying they couldn't wait for the rematch in February.

"It was an amazing atmosphere in this building tonight," said WCHS junior Anthony Tabor. "When the fans get involved like they did tonight, it pumps you up and gives you all the energy you need to compete as hard as we did. We are a tough team, and we will keep fighting you. Our heart is big, and you can never count us out. "

SCHS senior Lorenzo Williams opened the game with an old fashioned three-point play, but WCHS sophomore Hunter Penn grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to bring the Jackets within one point early in the first quarter. The Cardinals were dominating the Jackets on the glass during the first quarter and took a 17-13 lead into the second quarter.

The WCHS bench was called for a technical foul between quarters, and the Cardinals made one-of-two to take a five-point lead. Scott County went on an 11-0 lead to take a 29-13 lead and force Woodford to call a timeout.

The Jackets responded with a 6-0 run and had momentum when the power in the scoreboards went out and delayed the game five minutes. The Cardinals then scored on their first possession after the delay to increase its lead to 12. Woodford pulled within four points, but the Cardinals finished the half on a 5-0 run and led 37-28 at halftime.

The Jackets outscored the Cardinals 15-6 over the first five minutes of the third quarter and tied the game multiple times, but the Cardinals always had an answer. The Jackets took their first lead of the game when WCHS senior Ben Nash hit a three-pointer to give Woodford a 51-47 lead. Scott County ended the quarter on a 5-0 run and led 51-47.

The Jackets pulled within a point on a few possessions and took the lead with three minutes to play on a pair of free throws by Cromwell. The Cardinals answered with two points from the charity stripe and regained the lead, 58-57.

Both teams scored again from the foul line, and the game was tied at 62 with 1:20 remaining in regulation.

The Cardinals held the ball until 25 seconds remained and SCHS Coach Billy Hicks called a timeout. When play resumed, SCHS senior Glen Covington drove to the basket and scored while being fouled.

A large wave of boos rained down on the court from the Woodford faithful who were looking for a charge call as Covington stepped to the foul line. Covington missed the free throw, and Cromwell grabbed the rebound and raced down the court. With one second left on the clock, Cromwell fired from beyond the arc, but the shot hit the front of the rim and rolled off the side of the basket.

"I think we have found what the standard is in which we should play basketball every night," said WCHS Coach Ryan Wilson. "I think we proved that we can play with anyone in the state of Kentucky and I take a lot of positives after this game. I told the guys that we have nothing to hang our heads about tonight. We have three more tough games next week that we need to be ready for."

Frederick Douglass The Jackets dominated Frederick Douglass in the second half to pull away and win, 61-39, in the second round of the Toyota Classic.

The Jackets hit four three-pointers in the first quarter to take a 13-8 lead. In the second quarter, the Jackets stayed hot from beyond the arc and scored 18 of their first 21 points from long range. Myles-Devore and Cromwell each hit a three in the final 90 seconds of the half to give the Jackets a 31-20 lead at halftime.

Woodford began the third quarter on an 8-0 run with three transition baskets off turnovers. Despite a 6-0 run by the Broncos, the Jackets took a 47-29 into the fourth quarter.

Woodford kept shooting from beyond the arc and totaled 10 three-pointers in the game. The Jackets emptied their bench early in the fourth quarter and ran away with the win. Myles-Devore led all scorers with 16 points and Cromwell adding 13.

Lafayette

The Jackets' outlasted the Lafayette Generals, 68-65, in an overtime thriller in the opening round of the Toyota Classic Jan. 16. The Jackets trailed for much of the game, but stayed within striking distance and made a pair of crucial plays to push the game to overtime.

Tabor was terrific, scoring 14 points and adding seven assists and Myles-Devore led the Jackets with 16 points. Corey George was a monster on the defensive end, blocking three shots and Cromwell added six rebounds.

Tabor scored four in the first quarter including a pretty reverse layup dodging Lafayette seven-footer Ray Surratt's blocked shot attempt. Woodford trailed 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.

The Jackets pulled within one at halftime thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Myles-Devore who scored 10 points in the quarter. Senior Justin Alexander was terrific off the bench and scored five points late in the half to pull the Jackets within a point, 31-30.

In the third quarter, senior Ben Nash hit a pair of threes and Alexander scored another five points, but the Jackets still trailed by one heading into the fourth quarter, 50-49.

The scoring came to a halt in the fourth quarter. Lafayette's guards held the ball for most of the quarter, waiting to get fouled by the Jacket defenders. Tabor scored five points in crunch time, and Nash made a pair of free throws to send the game to overtime.

Surratt fired a three-pointer at the buzzer, but he was off the mark.

In overtime, George and Tabor made baskets early, and Woodford made 8 of 10 free throws to keep its lead. The Generals made a last second full court heave, but it was off the mark.

Western Hills The Jackets were victorious in a district showdown at Western Hills, 72-59, Jan. 15. Woodford jumped out to a 12 point lead at halftime and kept the lead in double digits for much of the game. Nash was on fire in the first quarter, hitting a three-pointer and adding six more points from the floor. Sophomore Hunter Penn scored seven points, and the Jackets led 25-20 after one quarter. In the second quarter, Myles-Devore scored five points, and Cromwell added four to lead the Jackets. Nash scored eight points in the second half and finished as Woodford's top scorer with 17 points. Cromwell scored six points in the fourth quarter and finished with 13 points.

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