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HEBRON ESTATES - Only in a holiday tournament could a team with a 2-1 record finish behind a squad with a 1-2 mark.
Such is the fate felt by two local teams participating in the annual Sarah Major Barger Memorial Holiday Tournament held at North Bullitt High and Hebron Middle.
Losing in the first round placed Bullitt Central on a path which would result in a fifh-place finish after winning its final two games.
North Bullitt won its opener but lost its next two games to finish in fourth place.
In the end, the three-day tournament allowed both head coaches an opportunity to see how his team would respond.
North Bullitt finished fourth
It should have come as no surprise that the third-place game between North Bullitt and Spencer County came down to the final seconds.
Despite winning just one of the three games in its own tournament, North Bullitt came within a couple of points of winning all three.
In the third-place game, Spencer County held on for a 66-64 victory.
Ricky Dunnavon’s three-pointer with a second left drew North Bullitt to within a bucket. The sophomore had five treys on the night that was dominated on the inside by Spencer County’s Chris Dunbar.
Not only did the senior score 19 points, he was responsible for causing at least a dozen North Bullitt fouls.
The tournament started with a nailbiter for the Eagles.
Down by six with 15 seconds left, Dominique Ellis came off the bench to hit a trey with eight seconds left. Then, after a Shawnee turnover on the press, Jarred George hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to force overtime.
North Bullitt was in total command during the overtime to capture the 67-63 victory.
In the semifinal contest against Allen County-Scottsville, the Eagles were up 29-28 at halftime. However, the Eagles lost 52-48.
Eagle Aaron Key lined up a three-pointer with 15 seconds left to tie the score but it was off the mark.
“We’re just a little too inconsistent right now,” said head coach Brian Courtney. “We’re doing some really good things but we have to do them for an entire game.”
Courtney, who was hit with a technical following a discussion about uniform malfunctions with one of the officials in the final contest, said that he likes the effort.
“We are very competitive,” said Courtney. “We were down in every game and the kids battled back. I like the effort.”
What is driving the coach a little crazy is the decision making and simple tasks like catching the ball and hitting open shots.
“We missed a whole lot of bunnies,” Courtney said, referring to a number of open shots close to the rim. “We make some of those shots and we win all three games.”
Still, Courtney said he is encouraged by the improvements as the season hits the midway stage.
“We just have to value the basketball and make good decisions,” said Courtney, whose team will play in a tournament in Glasgow later this week.
“We have an opportunity to be a good team,” said Courtney. “We just have to be more consistent.”
NORTH BULLITT (8-15-21-18) 64 - Ricky Dunnavon 17, Lucas Johnson 15, Zac Lamkin 12, Jared Free 10, Jalin Ratliff 5, Aaron Key 4, Jarred George 1
Spencer County (11-18-25-12) 66 - Chris Dunbar 19, Alexis Dennis 15, Brandon Miller 13, Brennan Smith 6, Esteven Cordoba 5, Cameron Fitts 4, Bridger Knotts 2, Blake Lambdin 2
NORTH BULLITT (17-10-9-10) 48 - Jarred George 9, Jalin Ratliff 9, Zac Lamkin 9, Lucas Johnson 8, Zack Gearlds 6, Aaron Key 5, Jared Free 2
Allen County-Scottsville (10-18-11-13) 50 - Holder 17, Napier 11, York 10, Harper 8, Sikes 4
First round game
NORTH BULLITT (15-19-14-11-8) 67 - Jarred George 20, Zac Lamkin 14, Lucas Johnson 8, Jared Free 7, Jalin Ratliff 5, Ricky Dunnavon 4, Dominique Ellis 3
Shawnee (11-22-13-13-4) 63 - Wimberly 16, Edmonson 13, Crittenden 7, Holman 6, Morris 5, Cardin 4, Terry 2, Redd 2, King 2, Ritchie 1
Bullitt Central places fifth
Head coach Joe Pat Lee knows one thing about his team - it won’t quit.
In all three games, Bullitt Central faced deficits but came back.
In the opener, the Cougars were down by 15 with less than four minutes to play against Nelson County.
However, with some aggressive drives to the basket and a full-court press which caused some problems, Bullitt Central fought to within three when Cameron Dukes hit a layup with 13 seconds left.
Nelson County was able to convert two free throws to seal the 55-50 victory.
In the consolation round, Bullitt Central played well from the opening tip in defeating Kentucky Country Day.
In the fifth-place game on Saturday against Whitefield Academy, Bullitt Central again had to fight back.
It wasn’t until junior Ken Dockery drove the lane for a basket and a foul that Bullitt Central took back the lead 39-38 with 5:10 left in the game.
After Jacob Wampler knocked down three of four free throws in the final minute, Bullitt Central had to withstand a final two attempts by Whitefield.
Andrew Patterson had two good looks at a trey and a two-pointer inside the final eight seconds.
Bullitt Central escaped with the 48-46 victory and a fifth-place showing.
“If we can value every possession, we can have a good team,” said Lee, whose team is now 4-6 on the season. “We had 12 turnovers but only three were in the second half.”
Without turnovers, Lee feels he has a very good basketball team.
“We’re playing better,” said Lee. “But it is somebody different every night.”
Lee would like the team build a little consistency in its play.
When it is able to get the ball inside to Brett Bourland, good things happen. Whether the post player tries to score to passes out to the shooters, Lee said the odds of good things happening is good.
“I feel good about this team,” said Lee. “They’re getting better and the effort is always there.”
BULLITT CENTRAL (9-14-5-22) 50 - Zach Humphrey 13, Aaron Duckett 12, Brett Bourland 10, Cameron Dukes 8, Jacob Wampler 3, Ken Dockery 2, Jake Gillard 2
Nelson County (9-14-13-19) 55 - Tyler Reynolds 13, Jesse Crume 13, Ryan Bell 8, Joseph Cesare 8, Zech Mauldin 5, Hunter Smith 4, Logan Calbert 2, Curtis Milo 2
BULLITT CENTRAL (13-15-9-17) 54 - Zach Humphrey 23, Brett Bourland 9, Jake Gillard 8, Jacob Wampler 7, Cameron Dukes 5, Alex Cromer 2
Kentucky Country Day (12-9-6-14) 41 - Lyles 12, Crocket 10, Scholtz 6, Ferguson 5, Wilson 4, Mathis 4
BULLITT CENTRAL (14-5-11-18) 48 - Brett Bourland 14, Ken Dockery 12, Jake Gillard 10, Zach Humphrey 6, Jacob Wampler 5, Dukes 1
Whitefield Academy (11-15-7-13) 46 - Dailey 10, Jackson 8, Johnson 8, Patter 7, Flores 5, Getzin 4, Adkinson 4