East pulls first victory over West in five years

Published 6:40 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The East Jessamine Jaguars finally got a long-awaited victory over the West Jessamine Colts Friday 67-63 in the two teams’ second meeting of the season.

The Jags ended a eight-game losing skid at the right time as they picked up their first victory over West since the 2013-14 season.

Emotions ran high at the start of the game as the first basket was not scored until nearly three minutes into the first quarter.

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The Colts started the game turning the ball over on their first four possessions.

Fighting through the struggle, West managed to jump ahead 12-4 with 1:30 left in the first quarter and East called a timeout to regain composure.

The Jags rallied back to cut the deficit to four points as the Colts led 15-11 after one quarter of play.

A fire sparked for both teams as the early struggles to put the ball through the hoop ended.

East sophomore Ben McNew lit up the net and nailed four of his seven three-pointers in the second quarter to help the Jags take their first lead of the game 25-24 with just under four minutes left until halftime.

Both teams put up 18 points in the second quarter as West held on to a 33-29 halftime lead.

By the team the third quarter ended, the game was evenly matched at 52 a piece heading into the fourth quarter as both crowds were electrified.

The Colts started the quarter on a 4-0 run, but the home team had the upper hand and used the crowd to keep the fire going.

The duo of McNew and senior Kenzel Wadkins were too much for West as the two guards combined for 47 of the team’s 67 points.

East head coach Nick Barton picked up his first win against West in his first year as coach.

Barton said he could barely put into words how he and his team felt after the win.

“We definitely felt great,” he said. “It was a special win. When I was hired that was something they stressed about and wanted to compete with West again. Everything we’ve done from the beginning has been preparing for district and it started back in August. It’s a mindset change and we got the kids to buy into the system.”

Barton said regardless of the eight-game losing streak the team has not had a bad season, but they struggle to compete for the full game.

“We didn’t play bad IN January,” he said. “Myself and the coaching staff have been stressing about playing the full 32 minutes to win a game,” he said. “We’d play great for three quarters and then lose focus the first two or three minutes of another quarter. We didn’t let our emotions get too high or too low tonight and we all had one common goal. They just wanted to win and didn’t care who made the play. If we can get them to think like that for the rest of the year then we should be good.”

Barton said this up-and-down season is the perfect example of showing the kids what their lives are going to be like going forward.

“This season is a hint of what their lives are going to be like for the rest of their lives,” he said. “No matter what happens you have to step up and take care of business. We’ve had ups and downs and we’ve had to put ourselves in positions to adjust on the fly and we have experience now. We have seniors but they’ve never really played varsity minutes. They now understand certain situations and what they have to do.”

East’s McNew finished with 25 points to lead all scorers and Wadkins followed closely behind with 22.

DeAjuan Stepp led the way for West with 17 points, Dalton Bruner added 15 points and Braedan Fomas posted 10 points.