To say that West Jessamine survived Boyle County on Tuesday night may be a bit of an understatement. The game went to overtime with the Colts prevailing 73-69, but it was really what happened late in the fourth quarter that has West glad it escaped with its health in addition to the win.
The Colts led by as many as 17 points during the first half, but Boyle was able to claw its way back into the game with some timely three-point shooting, volatile play and a key run at the end of the fourth quarter.
Leading 56-48 with 5:27 to go in the game, West junior Chase Fain was able to strip the ball and broke for the other end on a fast break. While going up for a layup on the left side, two Boyle defenders caught up with him. The first defender sidestepped to avoid the contact while the second defender raked his arm across Fain’s body at neck level, knocking Fain to the floor and drawing an intentional foul. He lay on the floor for a few minutes before leaving the court. Lane Brooks made both free throws to put West up by 10.
Fain re-entered game less than a minute later and had not been on the floor for 20 seconds when he got free on another fast break. This time he drove to the right side, and as he went up for the shot, a Boyle defender with his arms crossed shoved Fain’s body while he was airborne. Fain fell hard to the floor for a second time and lay there even longer, nursing his right knee. He would be helped off with a bruised knee.
Brooks made 1-of-2 free throws following the second intentional foul.
“It was rough; it was physical; there were somethings out there that happened tonight that I don’t like as a coach to see in a game,” West Jessamine coach Damon Kelley said.
With West leading 59-48 and just over four minutes remaining in the game, the Rebels mounted their comeback.
A 7-0 run inside of 40 seconds brought Boyle within four points at 59-55, and the Rebels eventually took a 64-62 lead on a three-pointer from the corner with 25 seconds remaining.
West brought the ball up the floor and burned a timeout with 10 seconds on the clock.
“(The play) was to get the ball to Daulton (Peters) ... We were trying to isolate him out top. He took the ball, put it on the floor, made a nice move to get to the block and finish,” Kelley said.
Peters’ shot bounced around the rim a few times before falling through to tie the game 64-64 with five seconds left. The sophomore was then able to cut off Boyle’s ball handler and forced him to travel with one second left. The Colts tried to get the ball in to Peters again for a game-winning basket, but he couldn’t get a shot off in time.
West headed into the extra period still without Fain, who was receiving medical attention in the hallway.
However, the Colts would not be without their senior leader for long. About a minute into the overtime period, Fain was cleared to re-enter the game and got back on the court for the final two minutes.
“I’m proud of him. If you had told me that he was going to be able to come back again, I would have never expected it. I think my jaw hit the floor when they told me he was ready,” Kelley said. “That just shows how Chase is maturing as a person and a basketball player; the fact that he wants to get back in the game shows a lot of toughness on his part. He’s dealing with a lot of injuries right now but he’s battling through it and helping our basketball team.”
The Colts defense, Robby Irgang in particular, shone in the extra four minutes as Irgang blocked two shots and forced a turnover.
“Robby Irgang is Tasmanian devil out there when he plays,” Kelley said.
Peters, Fain and Irgang combined for five field goals in overtime, and Heath Jackson and Peters made shots from the field to secure the win.
“I was really pleased with how we stepped up in overtime; we were shorthanded even moreso without Chase,” Kelley said.
Kelley puled Fain with 18 seconds remaining, and the hobbled senior received a standing ovation.
Jackson led the Colts with 22 bench points and nine rebounds. Peters scored 21 points and played all 36 minutes. Fain finished with seven points, five assists, and a bruised knee to add to his injury list that already includes a gimpy ankle.
On Friday, the Colts will host East Jessamine with the No. 1 seed in the district tournament on the line. West must win by 19 points to be the No. 1 seed.