BC wins the rubber match

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Boys' Basketball

By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - The rubber-match for the 2010-2011 season was just as tight as the first two meetings between arch-rivals Bullitt Central and North Bullitt midway through the fourth quarter on Friday night in the big house.

North Bullitt had just scored seven straight points, including a three-pointer by Alan Crowe to pull within 48-42. That ended up being the high-water mark for the Eagles in this meeting.

After having already scored nine points in the fourth quarter, all on three-pointers, Bullitt Central’s Ryan Schnellenberger once more tilted the game to the Cougars as he scored the next seven points in the game including another three pointer. That fueled an 11-0 surge that sent the Cougars on to a 63-51 victory.

The win also gave Bullitt Central a 2-1 advantage this season over North Bullitt. The Eagles won the first meeting in double overtime at the Sarah Major Barger Tournament, 66-63, only to have Bullitt Central roar back to win the first regular season meeting 54-50 before Friday night’s decision.

The two teams will be on opposite sides of the bracket for next week’s 24th District Tournament which will also be played at Bullitt Central. North Bullitt will open play on Monday against Southern at 7:45 p.m. with the winner moving on to face Bullitt East on Wednesday. Bullitt Central will open play on Wednesday in one semi-final against Fairdale.

Schnellenberger, who had not played in the Cougars’ previous game against DeSales after suffering a sprained ankle in a one-point loss to Bullitt East, came up big on Friday. He scored a game-high 25 points with five three-pointers. The junior scored 16 of Bullitt Central’s 20 points in the fourth quarter.

“Ryan just stepped up,” Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee said. “The other players did a nice job getting him the ball.”

On a team that basically plays six juniors and a senior, Lee is starting to see his team pull out wins at crunch time that in the past they struggled to pull out.

“When they pulled within six points, we weren’t worried,” the veteran coach pointed out. “We should be mature enough to handle those situations. We made some big plays after that.”

Bullitt Central led 39-30 heading into the fourth quarter and with Schnellenberger bombing away from the corners, the maroon and gray pushed the margin to 48-35. North Bullitt roared back with two free throws each from Ryan Collins and Blake Hardy wrapped around the three-pointer by Crowe.

The Cougars answered with Schnellenberger driving along the baseline to the basket for a hoop at the 3:22 mark. That started the 11-0 surge that decided the contest.

“I really believe that Ryan Schnellenberger has developed into one of the best players in the county,” North Bullitt head coach Lee Barger said. “Him improvement from last year is impressive. We were playing man-to-man defense and he was hitting shots from 22- to 24-feet. We couldn’t stop him.”

North Bullitt had an early 12-8 lead and the Eagles were still on top 20-19 before the Cougars went on a 9-3 run to close out the first half. Both seniors Miciah Ocasio and junior Caleb Craddock had nine points each for the Cougars in the first half.

“They brought a lot more energy than we had,” Lee said of the Cougars. “I know when you hit shots it is more fun, but they seemed to have more fun than us.

“Joe Pat did a good job preparing them,” the Eagle coach added. “They did what they wanted. Then we had a tough time defending the three-point line.”

Bullitt Central finished with nine three-pointers with five of those coming from Schnellenberger. Besides the 25 points from the junior, the Cougars also had 14 points by Ocasio and 13 by Craddock.

North Bullitt answered with 12 points by Tony Majors along with nine points each from Marcel Hull and Hardy.


At Bullitt Central

NORTH BULLITT 51 (12-11-7-21) Tony Majors 12, Brandon Goeing 4, Blake Hardy 9, Cody Montgomery 4, Ryan Collins 5, Marcel Hull 9, Alan Crowe 8.

BULLITT CENTRAL 63 (11-17-11-24) Miciah Ocasio 14, Caleb Craddock 13, Damon Shepherd 6, Corey Smith 2, Ryan Schnellenberger 25, John Sullivan 3.


Staying Hot

Bullitt Central stayed hot a night after beating North Bullitt as they traveled into Louisville and beat Evangel 88-65. This one was over early as the Cougars had a 38-20 lead by halftime.

It was bombs away for the Cougars as they converted a season-high 13 three-pointers including four each from Schnellenberger and John Sullivan along with three by Ocasio.

The team’s only senior, Ocasio, led the way with 23 points while the maroon and gray also got 20 points from Schnellenberger and 13 points each from Craddock and Sullivan.


At Evangel

BULLITT CENTRAL 88 (17-21-28-22) Miciah Ocasio 23, Caleb Craddock 13, Damon Shepherd 3, Corey Smith 8, Ryan Schnellenberger 20, John Sullivan 13, Luke Whitmore 2, Cameron Heath 1, Jake Gillard 4, Kevin Ford 1.

EVANGEL 65 (7-13-16-29) Payne 4, Janes 23, Sellinger 3, Cano 24, Hannah 3, Galvin 2, Fulks 2, Winstead 4.