VERSAILLES — Senior night festivities left the Woodford County boys' basketball team looking lethargic in the first half against Montgomery County Tuesday night.
"There was a lot of emotion going on, a lot of standing around, and we just came out flat," Coach Scott Hundley said.
But when the Yellowjackets started raining in three-pointers in the second half, they took on an entirely different look as they pulled away for a 63-50 victory in the final week of the regular season.
"We look great, like a team that can win the region," senior David Greenwell said after Woodford County's 10th win in its last 11 games.
Scott County, Madison Central, Henry Clay and Lexington Catholic are rated as the big boys in the 11th Region, but Woodford County shouldn't be ignored.
The Jackets played the first half of the season missing 6-foot-7 senior and Tennessee Tech signee Jay Johnson, who was recovering from knee surgery.
Without Johnson's double-double presence inside, Greenwell, Eli Boggess, Rodney Gross, Addison Hollin, William Starcher, Aaron Stover and Landen Young had to pick up the slack.
"Playing without Jay made the rest of us step up and improve our games," Greenwell said. Since Johnson returned to the lineup 10 games ago, "we've been able to put it all together."
Johnson isn't 100 percent his old self on his repaired leg, but he still had 11 points and 14 rebounds against Montgomery County.
"Jay Johnson at 75 or 80 percent is a whole lot better than a lot of guys who are 100 percent," Indians Coach Tony Wise said.
Johnson draws the focus of defenses on the low post, freeing up the perimeter.
That's what happened Tuesday night.
After Woodford County missed its first seven three-point attempts, it hit 10 of its last 15, including 7-for-9 sniping in the second half.
"With Jay in the middle, it puts a lot of pressure on the inside and leaves a lot of room to kick out and knock down open threes," said Boggess, a sophomore who was 4-for-6 from long range and led the Jackets with 16 points.
Greenwell, a 6-4 senior, had 13 of his 15 points in the second half and was 2-for-2 on threes.
Hundley said Boggess and Greenwell didn't do anything new: "A lot of people don't know their names, but the fact is, they've been doing this for us all year."
Montgomery County, one of the top contenders in the 10th Region, couldn't match Woodford County's outside shooting or the Jackets' work on the boards, especially Johnson's nine offensive rebounds.
The Indians led 28-26 at halftime thanks to Omar Prewitt and Jake Handshoe, who had 20 points between them.
That duo accounted for 14 points in the third quarter, and Montgomery County was still within 45-42. But neither Prewitt nor Handshoe scored in the fourth quarter, and Woodford County went on a 13-0 run to seal its 19th win.
Prewitt finished with 19 points and six rebounds. Handshoe had 15 points.
Despite the loss, Wise, in his first year as Indians coach, said he was happy with his 21-8 team. "We need to be better, we know that, but we like where we are," he said.
Hundley has the same feelings about his Jackets.
"I like our look," he said. "I don't think we've peaked yet, but I think we're heading in the right direction."
MONTGOMERY CO. (21-8) — Prewitt 7-16 2-3 19, Handshoe 6-11 2-4 15, Crisp 1-2 2-2 4, Fruth 1-3 0-0 2, Kelley 2-2 0-0 4, Jones 11 0-0 2, Combs 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 20-37 6-9 50.
WOODFORD CO. (19-10) — Greenwell 6-11 1-2 15, Johnson 5-12 1-2 11, Hollin 1-2 3-4 6, Gross 1-3 0-0 2, Starcher 1-4 0-0 3, Boggess 5-10 2-2 16, Young 2-5 0-0 5, Stover 2-3 0-1 5. Totals 23-50 7-11 63.
Montgomery Co. 16 12 14 8—50
Woodford Co. 10 16 19 18—63