West Jessamine made a statement with its first district game of the year Friday night. The Colts (6-2) trampled Mercer County 95-70.
“If you told me coming into tonight that this would be the outcome, I would have been very pleased,” West Jessamine coach Damon Kelley said. “I thought we did a lot better job defensively tonight as a team.”
Senior Chase Fain led the charge with 23 points, but it was the Colts defense that was so impressive.
In the first quarter alone, West held the Titans (4-2) to just 1-of-13 shooting from the field and off the scoreboard until the 1:44 mark of the period. By the time Mercer sank its first basket, a free throw, West already had an 8-0 advantage. Mercer didn’t get a shot from the field to fall until the 36-second mark — its 11th attempt of the night. West Jessamine won the first quarter 12-3 and forced seven turnovers.
“We were determined to stop their penetration and just keep a hand up,” Kelley said. “They’ve got a couple kids that shoot it well, but I think they rely a lot on dribble penetration … We did a really job of cutting penetration off so that when they caught it, we were already on them and had a hand in their face and they were hesitant to shoot.”
The nine-point lead only expanded in the second quarter. A free throw by Robby Irgang put West up 32-15 with 3:34 remaining in the half. Irgang scored five points in the quarter and 14 on the night. West led 36-23 at the break.
The Colts spent the better part of the third quarter at the free-throw line as they took 19 attempts with 16 of them falling. West was not immune to the fouls as it committed 11 in the eight-minute stretch and sent Mercer to the line for 17 shots.
West Jessamine’s lead hit its apex in the third quarter, 33 points, as Fain dropped in a layup.
The advantage hung around 26 points for most of the fourth quarter.
Fain had 11 rebounds and four assists to go along with his 23 points — all of which we team highs.
“I’ve been really pleased with (Fain) the last couple of games. He’s really talking and communicating defensively,” Kelley said. “… We need him to play to his potential for us to be good, and he’s starting to do that.
Will Henderson scored 18 points and was 11-for-14 from the free-throw line. Daulton Peters scored 13 points in 14 minutes; he was limited due to foul trouble.
West as a team continues its battle with fouls. The Colts committed 34 of the night and five players committed four fouls. Peters fouled out with more than seven minutes remaining in the game.
“You get frustrated with some of the decision your kids make, but for the most part you have to wait and fix it in practice,” Kelley said.
West was 31-for-36 (86 percent) from the free-throw line.