High School Sports

Tates Creek, West Jessamine girls earn feel-good tie to end regular season

West Jessamine's Devon Long shot against Tates Creek keeper Katherine Hein. Long scored both of the Colts' goals.
West Jessamine's Devon Long shot against Tates Creek keeper Katherine Hein. Long scored both of the Colts' goals. Herald-Leader

Blanked for more than 70 minutes, Tates Creek's girls scored twice in less than a two-minute span Wednesday night to salvage a 2-2 draw with visiting West Jessamine.

Both second-ranked Creek and No. 6 West ended the regular season feeling good about how they go into district soccer play next week.

West Jessamine led 1-0 at halftime on Devon Long's strike with 8:44 left.

Taking a through ball, Long came up the right wing and fired from about 12 yards off the end line and at least another 12 to the side.

Tates Creek had a couple good looks but couldn't finish. Mallory Eubanks crossed the ball toward the goal mouth, only to have Brooke Perkins dive and snuff the chance about nine minutes in. Aaron Lankster had some pace on a 25-yard shot about 14 minutes in, but Perkins fielded the ball without a problem.

A deficit gave the Commodores something to think about at halftime.

"Our coaches, the one thing they told us was 'how are you going to react when this happens in the post-season?'" Eubanks said. "And I think we had a lot of players that stepped up, especially on our defense. We had juniors, sophomores back there that were really strong, a lot of hard work."

The task got doubly difficult, though, before things turned around.

Long, off a picture-perfect centering pass from Sarah Wiggins, made it 2-0 for the Lady Colts with 30:53 left.

And that's how it stayed until the Lady Commodores went into quick-strike mode.

Lankster set up Ashley Whaley for a tap-in with 8:54 left and, just 1:54 later, a misguided clearing attempt resulted in a game-tying own goal.

"We could have laid back and played defensively," West Coach Kevin Wright said. "But that's not who we are. We're pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing."

The Colts (14-1-3) have been pushing against top city competition, too, closing the season against Lexington Catholic, Dunbar and Creek.

"We're a young team, so you're going to make some mistakes," Wright said. "But I thought to play like that, and our intensity and hard work, I thought we played well as a team. ... I was proud of us. We got a lot out of it."

Although anchored by six seniors, Wright said he played "four or five" 14-year-olds, too.

Creek (14-4-3), the defending state champion, did what Coach Bo Lankster asked at halftime. Which was?

"Treating this like our district game next week, being down 1-0, we need to make the decision that we don't want our season to end," he said. "We got down 2-0, but you could tell with our girls they were not going to quit at that point. These kids weren't down. They believed they could come back and win."

They did the next best thing to not lose.

"It shows a lot of character on our team," Eubanks said, "and it shows the motivation that we all have. We can't let down."

West Jessamine 2 Tates Creek 2

Goals — WJ: Devon Long 2; TC: Ashley Whaley, own goal. Goalkeepers — WJ: Brooke Perkins; TC: Katherine Hein. Records — WJ: 14-1-3; TC: 14-4-3.

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