East Jessamine’s record-setting season came to an end Monday night in the 12th Region semifinals. The Jaguars fell to Boyle County, 63-57.
This season East Jessamine (28-5) set school records in wins with 28 and winning streak with 17 consecutive wins.
“You can’t take away from what they’ve accomplished this year. They’ve had a great year,” East Jessamine coach Chris O’Bryan said. “Won the first district championship (and) won so many games.”
Monday night’s game against Boyle County (13-15) was a rematch of an early season face-off that the Jags won 57-55. However, this time the Rebels did not let the lead slip away in the final minutes despite a fierce effort by East.
With 90 seconds remaining in the game, East senior CJ Boyd hit a two-point basket to pull East within five points at 55-50. Following a Jags timeout, Boyle went downcourt and scored to push the lead back to seven. East and Boyle traded free throws to 58-51 with 58 seconds remaining in the game.
With the door quickly closing on East’s season, senior Michael Rexroat rose up. He buried a three-pointer to make it 58-54 with 47 seconds remaining. Boyle sank a pair of free throws on the other end, but Rexroat came right back for another trey as the clock hit 25 seconds.
The deep three would be East’s final basket of the year as Boyle hit three more free throws in the final seconds to hold on for the win.
“I thought we worked hard; I thought we kept fighting and clawing. We just dug ourselves a little too much of a hole,” O’Bryan said.
East Jessamine was never able to get a firm grasp on control of the game. The Jaguars never led past the 5:55 mark of the second quarter. East took a 13-12 lead into the second quarter after a three-pointer by Tashan Hairston, but the Jags were outscored 12-7 in the second period and went into halftime down 24-20.
“We missed I don’t know how many close baskets the first half and second half,” O’Bryan said. “We missed a lot of shots that normally fall. Unfortunately, that’s how it goes sometimes.”
With the offense struggling, East players started to get into foul trouble. Rexroat, Cody Collins, Ronnie Carson and Taylor Harper each had two fouls at the half. Collins missed most of the first half with foul trouble and picked up his third midway through the third quarter.
“Cody picking up two fouls early hurt us,” O’Bryan said. “We had a lot of silly fouls there in the first half that hurt us. Guys with two fouls had to sit a lot of minutes, and normally that doesn’t happen.”
East cut the lead to two points to start the third quarter, but Boyle pulled away again, leading by as many as seven in the period. The Jags trailed 33-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Two quick baskets by Boyle to open the fourth pushed the lead to 10. The Rebels led by as many as 12 points during the final eight minutes.
Rexroat and Harper picked up their fourth fouls in the fourth quarter, and Carson ended up fouling out in the final seconds of the game.
Despite fouling out, Carson led East in scoring with 14 points. Collins scored 10 points in his send-off. Boyd scored nine; Rexroat finished with eight points; Hairston scored five; and Cameron Thomas scored two points.
East Jessamine has gone 85-38 during the last four seasons, the best four-year stretch in school history.