East vs. West: pride on both sides of the U.S. 27 divide

Josh Preston

The biannual regular season matchup of the West Jessamine vs. East Jessamine basketball clubs has grown into one of the most exciting rivalries in the region. Since their first meeting in 1998, the Colts have dominated the rivalry with a 27-15 record in the matchup.

Every year, the teams prepare for the contest, with one game being hosted at each school site. In recent years, the involvement of each school’s student sections has grown remarkably. In fact, this is no longer a simple meeting of two Jessamine County teams; it has become a fierce rivalry between each school’s student bodies. If you’ve ever witnessed one of these games, you can see and feel the extreme amount of school pride demonstrated by each of the school’s student sections.  Every year, the respective student sections bash the other as much as possible with a series of spirited chants from each side. One would logically ask why this is the case.

The answer is school pride and a healthy spirit of competition.  The truth is there is little difference between the students of East and West Jessamine.  They are share same county and are familiar with each other, but when it comes to the East vs. West rivalry, look out. All in all, it is more than just a basketball game; it becomes an all-out war of which side of the county can truly out due each other.

In recent seasons, the Colts have suffered a five game skid against the Jaguars, the last win against East arising in 2011 from a team led by Jarrod Polson, a current University of Kentucky Wildcat. The “Colt Crazies” pulled off quite the stunt for one of the 3 match-ups between the teams in 2012, with baby powder being thrown into the air by nearly everyone in the student section, fogging the East Jessamine gymnasium and delaying the game half an hour for cleanup.

This year, as always, there was great anticipation leading up to the matchup during the week.

The West Jessamine senior leaders of the student section concurred during the week as to what was to what be worn collectively by the student section for the Friday, January 4th game.  After much confusion, the verdict was finally reached for a “Red-Out”.

A deafening noise of screaming from each student section arose as hysteria filled the gym prior to tip off. West received the ball to start the game and raced their way to a 20 point lead by halftime at 47-27.  Though East rallied and cut the lead to 14 at the beginning of the second half, the Jaguars proved no match for the veteran Colts as West cruised to a 98-63 triumph over the Jags. When the final buzzer sounded, the Colt Crazies rushed onto the court and celebrated with their team; it was the first win over East in nearly two years. The next matchup of the two teams will be in the latter part of the Colts’ regular season on Feb. 1 at East Jessamine High School.

At the end of the day, after all the foul chants and hateful jabs between the two schools, the intensity of the rivalry can really show how near and dear the two schools truly are. One thing about the rivalry that makes it so special is that the kids playing against each other, and rooting against each other, have known one another for years, which brings all the more excitement and serves as even more motivation for the two schools to win against each other in the embittered rivalry.  Well, and whoever wins gets bragging rights for an entire year.

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