To celebrate senior night, Western Hills’ boys basketball team did something it hadn’t done all season – win a home game.
The Wolverines (5-23) closed out the regular season with a 49-46 victory over Sayre Friday night at Lapsley Cardwell Gymnasium.
“That’s our first win at home,” WHHS senior Ryan Barrass said. “It’s some icing on the cake.”
Friday’s win came on the heels of a disappointing overtime loss at Lexington Christian Thursday on a last-second shot.
“Last night we really played well and so hard,” WHHS coach Steve Wooldridge said. “Tonight we talked about it before we came out and set just let it go.”
And the Wolverines did.
They led Sayre most of the game, going ahead 8-4 after the first quarter and 20-17 at halftime.
The Spartans (7-17) rallied in the third quarter, taking a 34-31 lead when it ended, but Western Hills opened the final period with six straight points – all on free throws – to go ahead 37-34 with 5:26 left in the game.
The game was close the rest of the way.
A 3-pointer by Sayre’s Reid Freeman put the Spartans ahead 41-39 with 3:01 remaining, but Barrass hit Will Davis with a pass under the basket and Davis made the layup to tie the game at the 2:43 mark.
“I’m seeing double teams a lot this year,” Barrass said. “I look for the open man. I hit Will Davis with a pass low and he made a nice finish.”
A three-point play and a layup by Barrass gave the Wolverines a 46-41 lead with 1:22 remaining.
Two foul shots from Ray Brewer and another 3 from Freeman tied the game at 46-46 with 32 seconds left.
Barrass drove the lane for a layup with 14 seconds left, giving WHHS a 48-46 lead. Sayre called timeout and set up a play for Brewer under the basket, but the pass to Brewer sailed out of bounds.
Barrass was fouled with 2.5 seconds left and went 1 for 2 from the line for a 49-46 lead.
“Their press improved at the end,” Barrass said. “They started taking the ball, but I tried to control things as best I could, make them foul us when we were ahead and make our free throws.”
The Spartans threw a long inbounds pass that was knocked down by Logan Curry and retrieved by Barrass to seal the win for the Wolverines.
“We kept our composure and kept working hard,” Wooldridge said. “We have a losing record, and when you’re losing games it can be hard to keep your focus, but they’ve been positive with me all year long.”
Barrass went over the 1,000th point for his career with a free throw in the first quarter. He led all scorers Friday with 26 points.
The Spartans were led by Freeman and Brewer with 17 points each.
“We rebounded the ball well,” Wooldridge said. “We have Grant (Hughes) and Logan in there, and then we can bring David (Goodman) in. We’re pretty deep and that makes a difference.
“I’m proud of their effort,” he added about his team. “This is a good team for me to start with. They’re a group of fine young men, and they’ve worked hard for me.”
Seniors Barrass, Jacob Benton, Curry, Goodman, Hughes, Jordan Kendall and Austin White were honored in a pre-game ceremony.
WHHS plays its next game in the 41st District tournament at the Frankfort Convention Center. The Wolverines take on Woodford County at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.
SAYRE (46) – Reid Freeman 17, Philip O’Rourke 6, Ray Brewer 17, Duncan Courtney 2, Justin Sanders 4.
WESTERN HILLS (49) – Ryan Barrass 26, Austin White 2, Logan Curry 3, Kevin Booth 7, Will Davis 5, Robby Fox 4, Grant Hughes 2.