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SHEPHERDSVILLE - The opening game for the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars in the Hardee's Classic at Warren East High School ended in frustration, but the maroon and gray bounced back very well the rest of the week to finish fifth with a 2-1 record.
After falling to Leslie County 49-46 in the first-round game on Wednesday, coach Bryan Bates' team came back a day later and blitzed Crittenden County 73-41. That led into the fifth-place game on Friday where the Bullitt Central rolled past the host school 60-42.
Against Leslie County, the Lady Cougars trailed by eight points at halftime, but then went on a 14-4 surge in the fourth quarter to grab the lead. It was close down the stretch. Bullitt Central had the ball last at the end of regulation but could not convert a winning shot.
Early in the overtime, Leslie County got two baskets from a player who had not scored in the firth 32 minutes and that propelled the eastern Kentucky team to the victory.
Kaitlyn McKnight led Bullitt Central with 19 points while Kristen Collins tossed in 13 points including a trio of three-pointers.
"Leslie County has a nice team," Bates said after the Christmas break. "They just made some shots to open the overtime and we couldn't get back in it. We played hard, but they had a nice team."
Bullitt Central then extracted some revenge in the loser's bracket game on Thursday as they got the better of Crittenden County. The Lady Cougars exploded for 47 points in the first half and then coasted to the victory.
For the rest of the tournament, Bates was pleased with his team's execution.
"Kayla Riggs had a really good tournament," Bates said. "She kept our turnovers really low. She just played really well."
Bullitt Central spent three days and two nights in Bowling Green and the experience was good for the group.
"They bonded a lot," Bates said. "It was a good trip."
The Lady Cougars went into the Christmas weekend with a 6-3 record.
On Tuesday of this week, the team started play in the First Citizens Bank Classic at North Bullitt. In the first round the team lost to former Eighth Region rival Gallatin County 65-54. See next Wednesday's issue for a recap of the entire First Citizens Bank event for Bullitt Central.
At Warren East HS
LESLIE COUNTY 49 (10-18-4-9-8) McIntosh 5, Wilson 6, Cornett 19, Little 5, Stidham 10, Asher 4.
BULLITT CENTRAL 46 (10-10-14-7-5) Kayla Riggs 7, Kristen Collins 13, Seaera Minyard 5 Kaitlyn McKnight 19, Kristyn Harned 2
BULLITT CENTRAL 73 (17-30-11-15) Kayla Riggs 14, Kristen Collins 10, Selena Yunt 4, Seaera Minyard 15, Kaitlyn McKnight 8, Kristyn Harned 3, Chasity Hodge 5, Haley Johns 6, Emily Ratliff 8.
CRITTENDEN COUNTY 41 (7-8-13-13) Scoring not available.
Bullitt Central won the game 60-42 over Warren East. No scoring was available at press time.