RICHMOND — It was a mob scene — a deliriously happy mob scene — in the Woodford County locker room after the Yellowjackets upset No. 12 Lexington Catholic 51-49 in an overtime thriller Wednesday night in the first round of the boys' 11th Region basketball tournament in EKU's McBrayer Arena.
Woodford County's players and coaches were jumping up and down and screaming for joy in a tightly bunched group as they celebrated one of the program's biggest wins in years.
"It's unbelievable," Coach Scott Hundley said. "These guys have worked so hard all year. I told them before the game to go out and make your memories, go out and earn this."
Woodford County's senior-stocked team made the big plays when it absolutely had to have them.
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With the Yellowjackets down 46-44 in the closing seconds of regulation, Rodney Gross took a pass at midcourt and raced to the rim for a buzzer-beating layup that tied the score.
In overtime, Lexington Catholic edged ahead 49-48 on Craig Floyd's three-pointer with 1:55 remaining.
Woodford County's 6-foot-7 senior Jay Johnson, who missed the first half of the season recovering from knee surgery, put his team back on top 50-49 with two free throws at 1:23.
Lexington Catholic had chances to go back in front, but it missed five shots and the front end of the bonus.
Johnson went back to the line and cashed one of two to make it 51-49 with 13 seconds left.
The Knights' final possession ended with a wild pass that sailed into Woodford County's end of the court.
"Nobody believed in us, but we believed in ourselves and we've come this far," Gross said after the Jackets earned a semifinal date with No. 5 Madison Central.
Woodford County's team victory was confirmed by the stat sheet: four players had 10 points each — Johnson, David Greenwell, Willam Starcher and Eli Boggess. Johnson had 13 rebounds and Greenwell had seven. Gross contributed six points and six assists.
All of them are seniors except Boggess, a sophomore.
Defending champion Lexington Catholic, which had won the region three of the previous four years, was led by 6-9 junior Jack Whitman's 19 points and eight rebounds. Floyd had 16 points, and fellow senior Bryan Woomer had eight points, nine assists and six steals.
Coach Brandon Salsman said poor foul shooting was what ultimately cost his team.
"You can't go 5-for-14 from the free-throw line in a region tournament. The kids played with a lot of heart, but we just didn't hit shots when they counted, and the free-throw line just killed us."
Salsman singled out Woomer as playing "a phenomenal game. I've never had anybody as undervalued as Bryan. He's one of the best point guards who's ever played at Lexington Catholic."
WOODFORD COUNTY (21-12) — Greenwell 2-13 5-9 10, Johnson 3-8 4-6 10, Starcher 3-4 2-3 10, Gross 3-5 0-0 6, Hollin 1-4 0-0 2, Boggess 3-8 3-4 10, Young 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 16-46 14-22 51.
LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (24-8) — Whitman 9-14 1-5 19, Floyd 6-15 1-2 16, Keller 2-3 0-0 5, Avare 0-7 1-2 1, Woomer 3-8 2-5 8, Totals 20-47 5-14 49.
Woodford County 10 4 15 17 5—51
Lexington Catholic 5 17 12 12 3—49