BC reaches 4-0, but can’t make it to 5-0

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Only one thing went right for the Bullitt Central Cougars on Friday when the maroon and gray played host to an undefeated Collegiate squad.

Fortunately, the one good thing for the Cougars on Friday was that they won the game, moving to 4-0 to start the season. Still, while it was a win, it wasn’t pretty as Bullitt Central claimed a 48-36 victory.

First, the 48 points scored by the Cougars was 11 fewer than they had scored in any of the three previous contests.

Second, two of the team’s top scoring threats, sophomore Tyler Tatum and junior Trey Kearney combined to score just four points.

Third, a week earlier Bullitt Central had made 26 of 29 free throws against Bethlehem. In this game, the Cougars were only 11 of 21.

There was also a fourth as the Cougars, who were averaging ten made three-pointers a game to start the season, were just one of 11 from beyond the arc in this contest.

And fifth, and worst, the Cougars lost senior Tanner Hazlett, the team’s most athletic player, for an extended period of time. Hazlett went up to block a shot on a fast break and came down awkwardly, suffering a broken wrist when he hit the floor.

“If you had told me those things (before the game) I would have told you that we were in big trouble and would have lost by 20,” second-year Bullitt Central head coach Jessie Curry said with a smile after the game.

“Collegiate is a good team,” the coach pointed out. “Not to knock Collegiate, but when fans see Collegiate they don’t see much. But their coach did a good job of scouting us. We had to change some names of sets (at halftime) so we could run some of our plays. We had 17 man-to-man sets and he knew all but two of them that we just added.”

More than anything, Bullitt Central just never got in a comfortable rhythm in this contest and they never could get the pace where they can get up a lot of shots.

“Collegiate did a good job of slowing us down,” Curry noted. “They had some length and kept us from the basket. They did a good job of getting back on defense.”

There was also the fact that the players had to overcome seeing Hazlett helped from the floor after a long delay late in the first quarter with his arm in an air cast.

“We went through some adversity there,” Curry said. “That puts a halt to some things. That type situation is always hard for the players and coaches. You could tell it affected the guys.”

The score was tied at 7-7 after the first quarter as the Cougars went scoreless the final 2:09 of the quarter after Hazlett’s injury. Bullitt Central never trailed but the game was tied at 13-13 before the maroon and gray scored the final ten points of the half. Nolan Creason hit the team’sonly three-pointer of the night to start the run and after five free throws, Jake Mann ended the half with a jumper that sent the Cougars to the locker room up 23-13.

Bullitt Central scored just nine points in the third quarter, all by Mann, as Collegiate got as close as 30-28 before Mann closed out the scoring in the quarter to make it a four-point game heading to the final frame. The Cougars then scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter as they held the Titans scoreless to the 2:33 mark.

Four different players had baskets for the Cougars in that run and that put the game on ice. Collegiate never got the margin back to single-digits in the closing moments.

Mann paced Bullitt Central with 14 points and the Cougars also got 12 points and seven rebounds from sophomore Chander Ocasio.

Collegiate got 13 points from Chez Moore, a very impressive looking 6-5 sophomore.

At Bullitt Central

COLLEGIATE 36 (7-6-15-8) Thompson 3, Allen 7, Moore 13, Sattel 11, Manning 2.

BULLITT CENTRAL 48 (7-16-9-16) Jake Mann 14, Aiden Terry 5, Ashton Collins 2, Trey Kearney 3, Johnathon Barnes 6, Chander Ocasio 12, Tyler Tatum 1, Nolan Creason 3, Tanner Hazlett 2.


First Loss

After opening the season with four straight wins, Bullitt Central suffered its first defeat of the season on Saturday when they traveled to the Bardstown Tip-off Classic and lost 57-56 to the host school of the three-game ‘showcase’ event.

The stat sheet actually looked a little better for the Cougars than it did 24-hour earlier, but the team could not nail down a victory. The Cougars shot 46 percent for the game and connected on seven of 17 from beyond the arc. The team also made 11 of 14 free throw chances.

Tatum, who is battling through a wrist injury, bounced back from his one-point game the night before and led the Cougars with 19 points which included a trio of baskets from beyond the arc. Mann added to the offense with 12 points.

One weakness for the Cougars was that the team had only 20 rebounds and no player had more than four rebounds.

After playing Moore earlier this week, the Cougars will be back in action twice at the end of this week. On Thursday, the maroon and gray will play host to Beth Haven and then on Friday the Cougars will play Nelson County in a game at 7:30 p.m. That will follow a girls’ game at 6 p.m. with Bullitt Central facing Atherton.


Lady Cougars’ Struggle

The early season struggles for the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars continued on Friday as they dropped a road game at Bardstown by a 71-23 count. In the four losses, the team is averaging only 24.5 points a contest.

Bardstown is coached by Amber Courtney who played her high school basketball at Bullitt Central (Amber Coy) and who was the head coach at North Bullitt until three seasons ago.

The Lady Cougars will be back in action at home on Friday when they take on Atherton in a varsity contest set to start at 6 p.m. The team will then be at home on Saturday afternoon to play Jeffersontown at 3 p.m.