The West Jessamine girls’ basketball team defeated rival East Jessamine 66-47 Friday behind sophomore Ashlee Rose’s 30-point night.
Although the outcome of Friday’s game was very similar to the schools’ first meeting (West won 65-50 on Jan. 6), the game progressed much differently. The first meeting was bogged down by 73 free-throw attempts; the second was more fluid and competitive throughout the first half.
“We wanted to see our girls have a lot better effort tonight, because it is a rivalry game we have a lot going on ... we wanted them to come out and play as hard as they could so they could realize their potential,” West Jessamine coach Stephen Greene said.
Rose was able to get to the basket early, scoring four points in the opening period as West jumped out to a 15-7 lead. However, a string of free throws by East allowed the Lady Jags to pull within two points by the end of the quarter, 15-13.
East stayed close throughout the second quarter and eventually overtook the Lady Colts four and a half minutes before the half. A 6-0 run that included baskets by Maddison Stollings, Madison Collins and Heather Welch took East from being down 20-15 to being ahead 21-20 in less than a minute.
“In the first half, we executed our game plan. We were able to defend a little better than we did in the second half,” East Jessamine coach Jacqueline Coleman said.
West responded with back-to-back baskets by Rose and Erin Conner and East burned a timeout to regroup.
The timeout helped as Kennedie Sturgeon drained a three-pointer on East’s next possession and a pair of free throws by Collins tied the game 26-26 with 1:50 left until halftime.
The Lady Colts put together a key 7-1 run to close out the quarter as Rose and Hannah Parson hit shots from the field in the final 30 seconds.
“(Our) girls adjusted and made a really good second half out of it,” Greene. “We had them look inside and do a gut check on themselves. They knew that they were better and had to go out and actually show it.”
Rose came out firing in the third quarter for West. She scored the team’s first six points to give them a 39-27 lead.
“(Rose) played really well; she handled the ball a lot for us tonight,” Greene said.
West was able to keep the Lady Jags at arm’s length the rest of the night. Welch scored six straight points for East during the third quarter, but it wasn’t enough to kick-start the rest of the team’s offense.
The Lady Jaguars were held to nine points in the third period.
“It’s been a struggle to get them to take open shots, because they have them; they’re just so passive on offense. Tonight they took a few more shots, but things just didn’t go our way; (the shots) didn’t fall,” Coleman said.
East got no closer than 10 points in the fourth quarter, and West hit free throws down the stretch to win going away.
Conner scored 13 points for West before fouling out in the final minute.
“Erin (Conner) played great also inside. When we got the ball to her, she was able to score pretty much whenever she wanted to,” Greene said.
Collins led the way for East with 13 points; Welch scored 10.