High School Basketball

Determined Colts keep it close till the end

Central showed up unfashionably late for its semifinal date in the National City Boys' Sweet Sixteen.

Coach Doug Bibby said his athletic director had given him the wrong time — 10:30 instead of 10 — for the Saturday morning game. So when the Yellowjackets arrived at Rupp Arena at 9:20, things got hectic.

West Jessamine made it more hectic, going down to the wire before falling 52-48.

"Our hearts went out to the West Jessamine team," Bibby said. "We know they lost a student last week (Ryan Robinson, who died of a staph infection), and they were playing with a purpose."

The determination was evident.

"We didn't match up at any position," Coach Robert Hammonds said. "They're faster than us. They're bigger than us. They beat us (30-19) on the boards and, to be real honest, we shouldn't have been in the game. But we were."

Alex Morrison led Central with 16 points and five assists. Dawan Robinson added 14 points. Kentucky football recruit Ridge Wilson had 12 points and eight rebounds.

West Jessamine (28-9) got 23 points from 5-foot-10 junior Jarrod Polson, by way of six successful drives to the rim and 11-for-12 accuracy at the free-throw line.

The Colts led by six early.

A mild six-point run midway through the second quarter put Central on top 24-19. The Yellowjackets (19-14) led 32-27 at the half, with a 12-2 "points in the paint" gap.

The lead grew to nine, 40-31, late in the third quarter.

Polson led West back, making one of two free throws to tie at 46 with 3:29 left. From there, the Colts got only three more possessions.

After turnovers by each team, Robinson bounced a layup over the front of the rim and in for a 48-46 Central lead with 1:31 left.

West took three timeouts over the next minute, the last at :30.3, looking to Polson.

"He's very quick and crafty with the ball," said Morrison, who tracked Polson most of the game. "So I had to back up off of him and, if he's going to shoot the three, I just had to get a hand up."

But Polson's "money" is his ability to drive and score, or draw a foul. And that's what he tried as the clock ran under 20 seconds.

"I was trying to play the drive," Morrison said. "I just had to beat him to the spot. I was there and I just got my hand on the ball."

Central got the loose ball, and a Desmond Brown runout with 13 seconds left.

Polson worked his magic with a spin through the lane to score. West took its final timeout with 4.4 seconds left.

With only three team fouls on West, Central took the ball out of bounds after three fouls in the final seconds, the last with 0.6 left. Wilson scored on an alley-oop jumper.

Even after the loss, the Colts stood proud.

"If you would have told us at the beginning of the season that we were going to be in the Final Four at the State Championship, I think we all would have laughed," said defensive stopper Randy Troyer. "We've come so far. ... So this is like a dream come true."