• Story and Photos by Thomas Mims

Lady Jackets defeat Logan County, lose two close games at Berea Holiday Classic

For high school basketball, the gap between Christmas and New Year’s Day means one thing — tis the season for holiday tournaments. Last week, Thursday through Saturday, the Woodford County High School girls’ basketball team competed in three close games with mixed results at the Berea Holiday Classic. The Lady Yellow Jackets finished the weekend 1-2 against feline teams, with an opening round overtime loss to the Letcher Country Central Lady Cougars, a day two win over Logan County’s Lady Cougars and a narrow Saturday morning defeat to the Edmonson County Lady Cats. Letcher County Central, 81-75 loss (OT) The first pack of Lady Cougars Woodford County played in Berea, Letcher County Central, managed to elude the Jackets’ grasp in overtime. The lead yo-yoed throughout. Woodford led 13-10 after the first quarter, but trailed by three at halftime, 29-26. The Jackets took the lead right back to begin the second half as senior post-presence Delaney Enlow scored five straight points to pull things back in WCHS’ favor. The lead grew to 46-40 late in the quarter before a fierce Cougar rally tied the game, but a Kamari Black free throw gave Woodford County a slight, 47-46 edge going into the fourth quarter. Enlow again started the quarter strong, scoring two more consecutive baskets to extend the lead to five, only for LCCHS to spark a small run of its own to knot the score again. The Lady Jackets led by five with just over a minute to play, but a 16-second, game-tying response came quickly from Letcher County Central. In overtime, it was the Lady Cougars’ turn to begin the period with instant scoring. Letcher County Central built a four-point lead in the first minute of the extra time and converted free throws down the stretch to stave off a Woodford comeback to win 81-75. Logan County, 71-56 win The opening contest of the consolation bracket treated Woodford well. The Jackets ambushed their second round Cougar foes, getting out to a 17-6 lead in the first quarter. The second quarter saw more scoring from both sides and the WCHS lead grew to 38-25 at halftime. Abbie Hudson scored a pair of baskets in each of the first two quarters and Enlow scored six points in the 21-point second quarter. Enlow carried that momentum into the second half. The senior’s 11-point third quarter performance equaled that of the Logan County team’s efforts as WCHS extended the lead to 58-38 with a quarter to play. The fourth quarter belonged to Niah Rhodes. The eighth-grader scored eight of the Jackets’ 13 points in the final frame to help seal the 71-56 victory. Edmonson County, 59-56 loss Saturday’s contest with Edmonson County was already weird before it started. There aren’t many 10:30 a.m. tip-offs in KHSAA basketball. Still, the Lady Jackets were “up and at ‘em” early and pulled ahead of the Lady Cats 19-16 after the game’s first eight minutes. Enlow started with a strong opening 90 seconds, scoring an and-one basket while tallying a steal and block on the defensive end of the floor. However, it was a different Woodford senior, Abby Moffett, who made the biggest impression early. Moffett scored 10 first quarter points with a pair of threes and a quartet of free throws. WCHS extended the lead in the second quarter with Enlow scoring six of the Jackets’ 11 points in the quarter. Enlow closed the half by adding two more blocks on the final Edmonson County possession to help the Jackets secure a 30-25 halftime lead. The Woodford advantage grew to 35-27 at the 5:08 mark of the third with a Rhodes three-pointer from the left corner. In the quarter’s final five minutes, the Lady Jackets only scored two points, a pair of Hudson free throws. The Cats locked down Woodford on defense and crashed the offensive boards to claw their way back into the game, managing to tie the game at 37 on a spinning midrange jumper by junior guard Katie Lindsey. Edmonson County scored on the fourth quarter’s opening possession to take the lead, its first since the 3:21 mark of the first quarter. Twenty seconds later, Moffett responded with a heavily contested three-pointer to put the Jackets back in front. Woodford held the lead for just 15 seconds before a Lauren Balance layup put the Cats ahead for good at 41-40. ECHS’ second half comeback could be attributed to a few things, but first among them would be free throw disparity and offensive rebounding. When Lauren Ballance scored to give Edmonson County the lead, she drew a foul but missed the free throw. Still, the foul was Woodford’s ninth of the second half in nine minutes of play. Conversely, the Lady Cats had committed just two fouls by the 7:16 mark of the final frame. A Woodford fan could be heard yelling, “You can call fouls on the blue team too, you know!” It’s doubtful the referees were spurred by that, but two ECHS reach-in fouls were called in the span of 10 seconds to slightly balance the disparity. Poor free throw shooting cost the Cats a chance to secure the game earlier than they did. Edmonson was able to keep Woodford at a small distance for most of the quarter but converting free throws would have helped widen that gap. Instead, the Lady Jackets were able to hang within striking distance. Trailing 56-50 with 90 seconds to play, Moffett missed a three-pointer, but a put-back basket and free throw by Enlow earned Woodford three points the old-fashioned way to make it a one-score game. Moffett fouled out with 40 seconds to play as she tried to prevent ECHS from holding the ball and running out the clock. Both free throws by Ballance were no good and an end-to-end layup by Hudson made the score 58-56 with 33 seconds to go. WCHS did all they could to force a steal, but the Cats were careful with the ball and forced a foul with 11 seconds remaining. Lindsey missed the first and converted the second to give Edmonson County a three-point lead and the Jackets a shot at tying it to force overtime. With no Moffett to try the game-tying three, sophomore Mackenzie Karo brought the ball up the court and initiated a pick-and-pop with Enlow. Enlow got decent separation for the shot but hit the left side of the rim and most of the remaining time was sapped away in a struggle for the rebound. Edmonson County escaped with a narrow victory before losing in the consolation bracket’s finals against Lawrence County. The Woodford County girls return to action Thursday for an afternoon bout with Frankfort at The Hive. With school still out, the 3-6 Lady Jackets tip off with an 8-2 Lady Panthers squad at 3:30.

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