West wins one in Rupp

The 12th Region’s run of state tournament success continued today when West Jessamine won the opening game of the Boys Sweet Sixteen, making the Colts only the second team from our region to win a boys state tournament game in the last 13 years.

They took the hard way to a 51-40 victory over Hazard, rallying from 11 points down in the final 12 minutes, 55 seconds. Click these links for Casey Castle’s story from The Jessamine Journal and the official box score from the game.

Hazard scored with 4:56 left in the third quarter to take a 39-28 lead that equaled its largest of the game, but the Bulldogs got only one more point the rest of the way, and they missed their last 20 field-goal attempts.

West Jessamine had something to do with that, of course, and reserve guard Randy Troyer had a lot to do with it. Troyer, a senior who seldom saw action in the Colts’ three regional tournament wins, played 13 minutes, 50 seconds of lockdown defense on Hazard star Josh Whitaker in the second half. Whitaker had 14 points in the first half but only four in the second, when he was 1-for-6 from the field.

“When we put him on Whitaker, their offense really didn’t do anything,” West Jessamine guard Jarrod Polson said.

For his part, Troyer said he prides himself on playing good defense. “Usually I have to guard Jarrod in practice … and he can be a handful. There were times (Wednesday) when I wanted to come out, and I knew I couldn’t,” he said.

Hazard’s shooters were a bitter cold 4-for-25 in the second half, and West Jessamine coach Robert Hammonds said he thinks the Colts’ defense was a factor. “We really went over the scouting report. and we really thought we knew them to the best of our ability,” Hammonds said.

Polson scored 14 points and Jonathan Rehner added 10 for West Jessamine, which won the school’s first-ever state tournament game and will play Grayson County in a Friday quarterfinal. The Colts shot 46 percent from the field, while Hazard, which was at 48 percent at halftime, finished at 32 percent.

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