West Jessamine ends Classic, ready to get back on track

Published 6:32 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2019

West Jessamine boys basketball competed in the Central Bank Classic at Lexington Christian Academy Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The Colts went 1-2 in the tournament with the lone win in the first day of the tournament against Holy Cross 68-59.

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The other two losses came from a 74-54 Friday fall to Central Hardin and a 72-50 loss against Campbell County.

Head coach Damon Kelley  said he was impressed with his team’s effort to hold off Holy Cross’ late-game comeback.

“We got off to a good start,” he said. “We had a big lead early and I thought we kind of settled in. We have to learn those situations better.”

West controlled most of the tempo as they led by as many as 13 points.

Sophomore DeAjuan Stepp scored seven of his 11 points in the third quarter, including the first six points for the Colts at the start of the quarter.

Holy Cross managed to pull back into the game because of the Colts’ turnovers and cut the led down to four points in the fourth quarter.

“Give Holy Cross credit,” he said. “They played hard until the final buzzer. I think we thought it was over sooner than it was. We have to make better decisions such as shot selection in the fourth quarter, ball security and we need guys to walk up to the free throw line and knock them down with confidence. It was good to get a win even when we did not play our best. We have a lot of things to get better at, but this team has a lot of potential.”

West has had a busy schedule the last week and a half as they have played six games in nine days.

Kelley said his team has not been able to practice as much as he would have liked and is ready to get back on schedule.

“As crazy as this sounds, we have not have much practice time,” he said. “That is what I am looking forward to. After this tournament, we will be able to get back in our gym and watch some film. We will get to work on situational stuff that we need to get better at.”

West is currently sitting in the top five of the 12th Region alongside Danville, Wayne County, Burgin and Lincoln County.

Kelley said the 12th Region is up for grabs this season and any team is capable of winning.

“It is wide open right now,” he said. “I think you would have to say Danville, Wayne County and Lincoln County deserve to be considered the top three teams. I still feel like we can get into that mix and Pulaski County has a good team. Boyle County will be a bit better once they get their juniors back from injury.”

Although the district tournament and region tournament are still ways away as the Colts are just now entering the middle stretch of the season, Kelley said his focus is not on the region just yet.

“I am still trying to get us to play at what I think is our potential,” he said. “If we can get to that, I will take our chances. I feel like we have as much of a ceiling as anybody in the region. We just have to iron it out to where we are playing at a high level all the time. That is where we struggle. We still go through peaks and valleys in terms of our focus, execution and we can look really good in stretches. We also can look really bad in stretches.”

Four other Colts scored in double figures in the win against Holy Cross alongside Stepp as senior Dalton Bruner led the way with 15 points, senior Braeden Fomas posted 14 and Yallen Woods scored 10.

West will return to action as they host North Bullitt Jan. 4 in the first home game since Nov. 29.

Tipoff will be 6:30 p.m.