Friday’s 98-61 game between West Jessamine and East Jessamine was the Colts’ largest margin of victory over the Jags in the history of the rivalry — 37 points to be exact.
The game’s decisive outcome broke a five-game win streak for East against West and gave the Colts a death-grip on the 46th District.
For the first time since 2010 district semifinals, West was able to best its rival.
West’s win came in large part from senior Chase Fain, who hadn’t beaten East since he was a freshman in 2009-’10. From West’s opening possession to the final minutes when he left the court to thunderous applause, Fain was “on.”
“It’s lovely whenever you have that feeling that you can just shoot the ball and you can’t miss,” Fain said. “It’s a good feeling, especially against East in front of a big crowd.”
Just seven seconds into the game, Will Henderson passed the ball out to Fain on the left side and he drained a wide-open three-pointer right in front of the East Jessamine bench — From there the rout was on.
West raced out to a 13-2 advantage in the first two minutes and 37 seconds. It hit five of its first nine shots from the field and outrebounded East 5-1 — three of which came on the offensive end.
“My wife said to me before the game, ‘Will you make it easy on me?’ As a coach you hope for that, but you never plan for it or expect it,” West Jessamine coach Damon Kelley said of his team’s strong start. “... We just came out clicking on all cylinders tonight, and we never let up.”
As good as the offense looked all night, Kelley was more impressed with how the defense came out and was able to shut down East from the start.
East burned a timeout following a basket by Daulton Peters, already his second of the young night.
The timeout did little to throw off West’s attack. The 11-point lead continued to grow as Tanner Richards and Robby Irgang got on the board.
Irgang was able to use his size to get position in the post for much of the night and ended up with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
“We have to learn how to play team defense — sit down and play some help and get some people to rotate,” East Jessamine coach Chris O’Bryan said.
Henderson, who dished out eight assists on the night, sank a basket-and-one late in the first quarter to give West a 24-5 lead. The Colts led 26-9 after the first quarter and scored 10 points off six East turnovers.
“(We told them) you can’t let up,” Kelley said. “I think the biggest mistake teams make is they get a lead and the other team starts pressuring and trapping and they think they can’t attack the basket. I’ve always believed that you keep attacking the basket because you’re going to have numbers and get good shots.”
West’s lead hit the 20-point mark early in the second quarter as Fain scored on a pass from Richards.
Richards and East’s Hayden Smith also traded jabs in the form of three-pointers.
The Jags were able to go 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in the second quarter as Fain and Irgang each picked up their second foul.
Timmy Bradshaw tried to give East a spark on offense in the third quarter by scoring the team’s first 16 points of the half, but the Jags could not get stops on defense, allowing just as many points during Bradshaw’s run.
“I thought offensively we got the looks that we wanted to get, we got the shots that we wanted. Other than some silly turnovers, we did all right,” O’Bryan said.
A 14-point deficit in the first two minutes of the second half would be as close as East would get the rest of the night.
Fain picked up his third foul with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter and would not see action again until the fourth quarter.
Peters, who scored 22 points, made it an 80-50 game with a basket at the 6:20 mark of the fourth quarter.
Fain added six more points in the fourth quarter to bring his total to 28 points in just 24 minutes. He also led the team with 11 rebounds and was 4-for-6 from three-point range.
Bradshaw led East Jessamine with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Mike Jones scored 11 points; Ronnie Carson had nine points and committed 10 turnovers.
“I thought we did a great job on Ronnie in collapsing and making his penetrations tough,” Kelley said.
West outrebounded East 35-25 and outshot the Jags to the tune of 63 percent (38-of-60) to 35 percent (19-of-53).
However, as good as the rebounding and shooting stats were, Kelly was more impressed with the number of assists the Colts had — 27.
“(That’s) phenomenal, that might be the most I’ve ever had a team get,” Kelley said. “This group is very unselfish.”
In terms of district standings, West’s win moved them to the top of the pack with a 3-0 mark, and East fell back to third at 1-2. Mercer is in second at 2-1, and Burgin is fourth at 0-3.