Jackson County Earns Wins Over Cumberland County (Ky), Bradley Central

Story and Photos by Rusty Ellis

The Jackson County Lady Blue Devils opened play in the Clay County Christmas Classic on Monday, winning their second consecutive game 45-39 over Cumberland County (Ky).

The two teams struggled on offense from the outset, with the Lady Devils taking a slim 9-8 lead into the second frame. Jackson County’s defense was on display in the second, as they held Cumberland County to just three points and increased their lead to 16-11 at halftime.

Cumberland fought back in the third quarter, outscoring JCHS 15-12 to trim the lead down to 28-26 heading to the fourth. There, the Lady Devils put together their best offensive quarter, scoring 18 points to earn their second straight win 45-39.

Jacklyn Agee led the way with a game-high 22 points, while Riley Thomas added 13.

“We played hard, it’s a good group that plays hard every game,” said JCHS head coach Jim Brown. “Sometimes we struggle taking care of the ball and finishing our shots, but we got off to a good start today…just a good team win.”

Turnovers have been the primary issue for the Lady Devils, but as Brown pointed out, when they take care of the ball, they put together some pretty good stretches of basketball.

“That’s what I keep telling them,” Brown said. “When we get shots, we’ve got chances…that’s two wins in a row for us, so we’re pretty excited right now.”

The Blue Devils followed that up with a win of their own in 48-43 fashion over Bradley Central.

Jackson County fought hard on defense to stay in the game early, as they could only muster four points on offense. Bradley Central experienced similar struggles with only seven points of their own, leading to only a three-point deficit for the Blue Devils heading into the second quarter.

Both offenses started rolling in the second frame, with Jackson County outscoring Bradley 12-7 to take a 16-14 lead at halftime.

JCHS’ defense held the Bears to just five third-quarter points to push the lead to 11 at 30-19 heading into the final quarter. The Blue Devils withstood a late rally that saw the Bears catch fire from three to take home a 48-43 victory.

Tre Monette led the way with 18 points for Jackson County, while Jordan Arroyo added 12 of his own for head coach Kevin Thomas’ squad.

“We wanted this game to be slower,” Thomas said. “We tried to slow the tempo down and tried to play zone…we stressed rebounding the ball defensively and handling their ball-pressure, and we were able to do those two things.”

The third quarter saw JCHS put some distance between Bradley and themselves, something Thomas attributed to his guys adjusting to the Bears’ pressure.

“They really picked up the tempo, and tried to speed us up,” Thomas said. “We adjusted to that well and got better with it, and then we got the right guys to the free throw line at the right time.”

Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday, as the girls take on Jo Byrns at 3 P.M. and the boys will face Hampton to follow.