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SHEPHERDSVILLE - The Bullitt Central Lady Cougars continued to send mixed signals to head coach Bryan Bates last week as they went 1-2 in their own holiday tournament.
There were periods where the maroon and gray played quite well against strong competition. At other times, the Lady Cougars struggled with their shooting and offense overall.
Bullitt Central opened the Specialties for Success Lady Cougar Invitational with a frustrating loss to Fern Creek. Bates’ team led for most of the contest before coming up short at the end in a 69-67 loss.
The team bounced back in a big way on Wednesday, bombing outclassed Doss 87-25.
That set up a fifth-place game on Thursday afternoon against South Oldham, a team on the same talent level with the Lady Cougars. As it turned out, the Lady Dragon pair of Mary Dye and Jasmine Whitfield combined to score 48 points as South Oldham escaped with a 54-45 victory.
That tournament action left Bullitt Central with a 5-6 record heading into the new year. The Lady Cougars will have a big game right off the bat as they return to action on Tuesday when they play host to Fairdale in a key 24th District contest.
The poor shooting might be the most obvious problem for the Lady Cougars, but a serious underlying problem has been a shortage of rebounding. That was painfully obvious in the loss to South Oldham.
“The biggest problem is bad rebounding,” Bates said after a long meeting with his team. “We gave up 18 offensive rebounds.”
The play of Dye and Whitfield was something Bullitt Central knew about, but could not contain.
“they have two really good players,” Bates said. We didn’t control either one. They scored 48 of the 54 points and that is unbelievable. I’ve never seen two people do that much of the scoring.”
Bullitt Central trailed 9-3 early in the game, but then rallied to get within 11-8 at the first stop. A three-pointer by Kayla Riggs just before the buzzer got the Lady Cougars within 23-21 at halftime.
The chance at the win went out the window in the third quarter as South Oldham went on a 21-9 surge that gave them a 14-pint advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Bullitt Central got within seven points and had the ball and a chance to get closer in the final 90 seconds, but could not convert.
The game was slowed by the officials who saw fit to call 54 fouls (27 on each team) in a fifth-place game.
Riggs paced Bullitt Central with 13 points.
A night earlier, the Lady Cougars just manhandled Sixth Region rival Doss. The Lady Cougars were up 45-9 at halftime and never looked back.
Bullitt Central got 16 points each from Seaera Minyard and Kristen Collins as well as 10 points each from Keoka Hilliard and Ashleigh Pollard.
The tournament started on a negative note for the Lady Cougars as they let one slip away against Fern Creek, a team that eventually reached the championship game of the 8-team event before falling to undefeated Jeffersontown.
“We had the lead the whole way until the last three minutes,” Bates lamented. “Toward the end we made some bad decisions and missed some easy shots.”
The top two Fern Creek players combined to score 42 points in this game. Still, Bullitt Central had a late shot to send the game into overtime, but it was off the mark and the Lady Tigers dribbled out the clock to secure the win.
“If we score 67 points we should win most games,” Bates noted. “Fern Creek does have a lot of offensive weapons.”
Bullitt Central got 23 points from senior Keoka Hilliard who connected on five three-pointers. Senior Valerie Terry tossed in 16 points while Kaitlyn McKnight finished with 14 points.
Specialties for Success
Lady Cougar Invitational
At Bullitt Central
FERN CREEK 69 (15-12-18-24) Grigsby 13, Bernard 10, R. Terry 22, Plemmons 4, McCune 20.
BULLITT CENTRAL 67 (20-15-14-18) Keoka Hilliard 23, Ashleigh Pollard 3, Valerie Terry 16, Seaera Minyard 1, Kaitlyn McKnight 14, Kristen Collins 6, Kayla Riggs 1, Selena Yunt 3.
BULLITT CENTRAL 87 (21-24-24-18) Keoka Hilliard 10, Valerie Terry 3, Ashleigh Pollard 10, Rachel Farber 4, Seaera Minyard 16, Tori Boston 6, Kaitlyn McKnight 7, Kristen Collins 16, Kayla Riggs 8, Selena Yunt 5.
DOSS 25 (4-5-4-12) Lopes 7, Caufman 4, Williams 4, David 3, Burrell 4, Wilson 3.
BULLITT CENTRAL 45 (8-13-9-15) Keoka Hilliard 7, Valerie Terry 7, Ashleigh Pollard 2, Seaera Minyard 3, Kaitlyn McKnight 9, Kristen Collins 4, Kayla Riggs 13.
SOUTH OLDHAM 54 (11-12-21-10) Dye 23, Haysley 2, Whitfield 25, Wright 4.