The East Jessamine boys’ basketball team wrapped up a perfect 10-0 record at home this season by defeating Model 89-68 on Thursday night. The Jags (24-4) celebrated senior night as seniors CJ Boyd, Cody Collins, Kevin Courtney, Tashan Hairston, Michael Rexroat and Cameron Thomas combined for 55 points.
If Courtney sounds unfamiliar, it’s because he normally spends the game on the highest bleacher filming the game or at the end of the bench in street clothes. He is the teams manager.
In the closing minutes of Thursday’s game, when East was well on its way to victory, East coach Chris O’Bryan had Courtney head to the scorer’s table to check in. Courtney spent the final three minutes of the game on the floor with the other five seniors as O’Bryan rotated players in so that Courtney got a chance to play with all of them. On the offensive end, Courtney camped out in the corners looking for an open shot from three-point range. His first couple of shots were off the mark, but on a three-point attempt in front of the East bench, he drew a foul and went to the line.
Courtney’s first attempt was off the mark, but the second fell in as the most celebrated basket of the night. He missed on his third attempt.
Although East won by 21 points, it wasn’t a sure thing until the closing minutes of the third quarter.
Model was off to a strong start from the tip. It led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, and East did not take its first lead until the 4:40 mark of the second quarter.
With the game tied 24-24, Hairston hit a shot to put East up two points. The Patriots tied the game at 26-26, but back-to-back baskets by Collins and Hairston put East up four points and Hairston hit a foul shot to make it a five-point game.
East carried a slim 37-34 lead into the break.
Collins and Hairston hit back-to-back baskets again coming out of the halftime intermission to go up seven points, but Model had another run in them.
Over the next four minutes, Model cut the lead down to two points at 44-42.
Model’s coach picked up a technical at the 58-second mark of the third quarter and sent Timmy Bradshaw to the free-throw line for two easy points to make it 53-48.
The play that really put East over the top and in control for good came with 27 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Rexroat was able to strip the ball and was heading downcourt for a fast-break bucket. East had a two-on-one advantage, but instead of taking a layup himself, Rexroat dumped the ball off to Ronnie Carson, who scored and drew a foul. He missed the ensuing free throw, but the bucket put East up 56-48.
In the closing seconds of the third quarter, East was dealt a huge blow when Boyd picked up his fourth foul and had to head to the bench for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.
With a 58-48 lead in heading into the fourth quarter, East really began to pull away. Rexroat opened the fourth with a three-pointer. He finished with 11 points.
Later in the period, Bradshaw rattled off seven straight points. He finished with a team-high 26 points.
Boyd returned midway through the fourth quarter and added five late points to bring his total to seven for the night.
Hairston scored four in the fourth to end the night with 14. Collins was abusing Model on short jumpers in the key to the tune of 17 points in his senior farewell.
Thomas had a quiet night on the offensive end with five points but was vital in East’s defensive effort in taking control of the game.
East will conclude its regular season on the road Friday at Danville. The Jaguars are riding a 13-game win streak and have not lost at home since Jan. 19, 2011, a stretch of 17 home games. The Jaguars have only lost one home game in the last two seasons.