STANFORD — Jarrod Polson didn't score 38 points the way he did in the first two games of the 12th Region tournament.
But his 18 points and a solid effort by his West Jessamine teammates were enough to send them to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time.
McCreary Central's Aaron Watts saved his best for last with 16 points in the fourth quarter, but the Colts hung on for a 47-42 victory.
West Jessamine, which was playing with a heavy heart after the death of schoolmate Ryan Robinson earlier in the day, lost almost all of a nine-point lead with 5½ minutes left Tuesday night at Lincoln County High School.
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Watts helped the Raiders cut a Colts lead that had been nine early in the fourth quarter to one point.
Watts used his athleticism for layups and his shooting skill from outside. His driving layup at 57 seconds got McCreary Central within 43-42.
The Colts missed two free throws, but Watts was unable to convert a layup and putback. Polson made two free throws at 18.6 seconds for a 45-42 edge.
Watts missed an off-balance three-point try that would have tied the score. The Colts' Jonathan Rehner secured the victory with two free throws.
Until the fourth quarter, Watts had been relatively quiet (eight points), and his Raiders teammates did much of the shooting.
West Jesssamine (26-8), which led 21-16 at halftime, went to a delay game to open the second half. They "won" the third quarter 7-5 then withstood McCreary Central's comeback.
The Colts' David Elliott scored three baskets early in the last quarter, before Watts and the Raiders took over.
"We knew what was going to happen," winning coach Robert Hammonds said. "We played a matchup zone and kept them at bay, but I knew they could go off at any time."
Polson said, "It was close, but in our minds one player was not going to stop us. Teamwork got us the lead like it has all year, and that's what mattered."
"Watts is an unbelievable player, and he got on fire," Elliott said. "But we're not done here."
Neither team shot well in the opening period. The Colts were 2-for-11 but led 8-6. McCreary Central (21-12) were 2-for-8.
West Jessamine led 21-16 at the break and 28-21 after three quarters.
WEST JESSAMINE 47MCCREARY CENTRAL 42
WEST JESSAMINE (26-8) — Polson 18, Zieman 2, Rehner 4, Mefford 9, Bartholomew 1, Pohl 4, Elliott 9.
MCCREARY CENTRAL (21-12) — Watts 24, Dustin Schrock 2, Roark 2, Wright 5, Dixon 7, Williams 2.
West Jessamine 8 13 7 19—47
McCreary Central 6 10 5 21—42