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East Jessamine comes up short against Bryan Station

East Jessamine hit the road on December 20th to face off against Bryan Station, and while they made it a tight game for the Lady Defenders once or twice, they ultimately couldn’t put the game away in the 66-51 loss.

Bryan Station (5-5) was often dominant in the paint, stifling most drives to the basket by the Jags and forcing a number of off-balance and rushed shots by East Jessamine.

The Jaguars were outscored 11-4 in the first quarter, all four of East’s points scored by Jermyra Christian, who took two of only four shots attempted by East. The Jags came back strong in the second quarter, led by Autumn Harrison and Irma Hagins, who scored eight and seven points, respectively. Bryan Station went into halftime with only a 29-27 lead, as Hagins and Christian were effective in driving to the basket as the Lady Defenders struggled to box them out.

Bryan Station had a 42-32 lead at 5:11 remaining in the third quarter, while taking away the lanes and nearly putting an end to the short jumpers and layups that East had relied upon, up to this point in the game. The Lady Defenders led the Jaguars 53-41 entering the fourth quarter, as East continued to take off-balance shots inside the arc. Bryan Station forced the Jags back behind the three-point line; East managed only four three-pointers in the game, and were outscored 13-10 in the fourth quarter.

At times, especially in the late-game chaos, East players seemed to be fighting one another for the ball and taking awkward second-chance shots on offensive rebounds. However, there were moments throughout the game when it seemed the Jags were hitting on all cylinders.

Coach Todd Claunch chalked it all up to youth and inexperience.

“I think Bryan Station did a good job coming out in the second half, turning it up two notches,” Coach Claunch said, “and when we came out, we didn’t recognize it and didn’t step it up.”

“I thought we did a great job on the boards, in the first half,” he added, “but (Bryan Station) turned up the intensity and we didn’t match it. They whipped us on the boards, in the second half.”

“We just didn’t answer, in the second half,” he concluded.

While citing the team’s youth, Coach Claunch also acknowledged their potential. “We’re starting two eighth-graders, and just about everyone coming off the bench is a freshman or eighth-grader,” he said, “but my thing, too, is there’s no reason you can’t play hard. That’s what we’re not getting. We want to take breaks on the court, a little bit. But it’s a great group, a great group of young players. We’ve just gotta learn to play the whole game.”

Hagins and Christian’s work on the court was especially noteworthy. “I wouldn’t trade them for anything,” said Claunch, adding, “we just have to learn to make adjustments on the court without having to take a time out. And of course that’s just youth, just needing to learn to adjust on the fly.”

“But we need to finish shots. We need to hit those free throws,” he continued. “and if we could do that, maybe we end the half up by eight or ten points, and maybe it’s a different look at the end of the game.”

The Jaguars (2-8) are on break for the holidays until December 27th, when they play the 9-1 Bardstown Lady Tigers at Garrard County in the Elite Insurance Solutions Lady Lions Classic. Tip-off time is 4:15 PM.