• By Thomas Mims, Woodford Sun Sports

Yellow Jacket boys defeat Dunbar 62-46 to open season

Coach Jaron Brown’s tenure at the helm of the Woodford County High School boys’ basketball team started on a positive note Monday with a 62-46 victory over Dunbar in Lexington. Three Yellow Jackets combined to outscore the Bulldogs, and Woodford overpowered Dunbar 31-15 in the second half to secure the victory. Woodford County trailed for most of the first half before taking a 23-22 lead on an Anthony Tabor free throw with 4:33 to play in the second quarter. Tabor’s 18 points led all scorers, with Tabor, Ashton Myles-Devore (17) and Hunter Penn (12) combining to outscore the Bulldogs. Defense was the key to the Yellow Jacket victory as WCHS notched four steals in the first quarter and continued forcing Dunbar turnovers throughout the game. Tabor earned his go-ahead free throw by intercepting a pass and scoring a layup at the other end while drawing a foul. That sequence was part of a 12-0 Woodford County run that turned a 22-15 deficit into a 27-22 advantage. Before the season, Brown said that he believed his team was a “hard working, blue collar team” that would grind out wins. Monday’s victory seemed to indicate as much. The Jackets led 31-30 at halftime before taking the game over defensively in the second half. Woodford conceded six points in each of the final two quarters, allowing 12 points on just four made field goals. The game’s defining play came a minute and a half into the fourth quarter. Franklin County transfer Jared Courtney snuck into the lane for an offensive rebound, brought the ball out to the right corner, and found an open Myles-Devore for a three-pointer to extend the Yellow Jacket lead to 50-39 with 6:34 to play, inciting Bulldog coach Scott Chalk to call a timeout. In last week’s season preview, Penn mentioned that he hoped to expand his game for the 2019-20 season. Monday night, the junior showed indications that he has indeed become more versatile. In addition to his 12 points, the Yellow Jacket big man pulled down several rebounds and delivered a few assists, including a nifty bounce pass from the free throw line to Myles-Devore on a backdoor cut for a simple lay-in. The assist started a stretch in which the senior guard scored nine points in a row for the Yellow Jackets. Myles-Devore scored most of his 13 second half points during the final minute of the third quarter and the opening minute of the fourth. Thursday evening, Woodford hosts Grant County in the second game of a double-header, following the conclusion of the WCHS girls’ game against Anderson County. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30. Saturday, the Yellow Jackets travel to London to face Clay County at 4:30 p.m. in the Legacy Nissan Classic at North Laurel High School.

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