East Jessamine, which is on its way to its first winning season in a decade, beat rival West Jessamine on Friday night for the season sweep.
The Lady Jaguars were led by Sarah Rainwater, who poured in 16 points with key free throws coming in the third quarter and late in the game.
Following a back-and-forth first period that ended with an 11-11 tie, the game slowed to a standstill in the second period due to missed shots and fouls. East scored just seven points in the second quarter and West scored eight to give the Colts a 19-18 lead at halftime.
East Jessamine was able to pick up the pace in the third quarter and ultimately separate itself from West. After falling behind 23-20, the Lady Jags scored six straight points to take control. Emma Young scored twice during the run, and Heather Welch added a basket.
Midway through the quarter, Rainwater hit six points in a row to push the 26-24 lead out to 32-24. A pair of free throws by Welch with 2:02 remaining in the third really could have been the dagger, but both rimmed out and West came down the court and sank a three-pointer off the hands of Shelby Hawkins to make it a five-point game. With West possibly gaining some momentum, East senior Maddie Haney hit a three-pointer of her own to push the lead back out to eight.
“I called the play for Maddie Haney to shoot,” East coach Jacqueline Coleman said. “She hadn’t hit a whole lot, but I told her after the game that I knew that if I kept calling it for her, she was going to hit one eventually. But that’s the senior leadership.”
Hawkins came up with another three-pointer in the closing seconds of the third period to make it a 35-31 game going into the fourth quarter.
Within the first 90 seconds of the fourth, West had a chance to tie the game at 35 as East could not hit and the Lady Colts shot four free throws — all of which were missed.
Emilie Hatfield kicked off a 7-0 run for the Lady Jags to give them a 42-31 lead that ended up being key. West never got closer than six points the rest of the night and suffered its sixth loss in a row.
Rainwater hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 30 seconds to stave off a West run.
Hatfield scored nine points off the bench for East, and Welch added 11. Young finished with seven points.
Ashlee Rose led West Jessamine with 16 points; Hawkins scored 13.
“We had a lot of trouble making shots tonight,” West coach Stephen Green said. “We got plenty of opportunities, even got to the free-throw line some, but we just had a tough time making shots ... we just need to be able to finish.”
Coleman said she is trying to keep the Lady Jaguars focused on small tasks as the time of the district tournament approaches.
“They know that they have a winning record; they know how many games they’ve won, but I don’t think they think about the big picture, and I don’t want them to,” she said. “In practice, we focus on this drill and getting better in this regard, chipping away at the things we need to work on to win games. We don’t ever talk about what we want our record to be or any big goals like that ... I want them to think about the next play, and that’s what we focus on in practice.”