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LOUISVILLE - It's never easy to start the high school basketball season on the road.
It's doubly tough opening the season on the road when you return just one starter from the previous season.
That was the situation the Bullitt East Lady Chargers found themselves in on Tuesday as they opened the 2011-12 high school season on the road at Presentation, a team that won 12 games last season and returned a number of starters.
In the end, the Lady Chargers could not convert over the final two minutes after battling to tie the score at 53-53. The Toppers scored the final four points to escape with a 57-53 decision.
Bullitt East was down 12 points early in the second quarter before rallying to within 29-28 at halftime.
"In the first and fourth quarters we showed our inexperience," Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said a few days later. "The middle two quarters and halfway into the fourth we played pretty solid."
In the end, the Lady Cougars could not overcome 24 turnovers.
"You struggle when you turn it over like that," Stallings said.
Bullitt East was down by the one point at halftime before Presentation pushed its margin out to 42-38 entering the fourth quarter. The Lady Chargers made another run, pulling even with two minutes.
The red and gold even had the ball with the game tied in the final two minutes, but then turned it out. Presentation answered with a free throw and then Bullitt East took a rushed shot that was well off the mark. The Toppers then scored on the next trip and never let the Lady Chargers challenge again.
"That's us right now at the present time," Stallings said of not having the experience to execute the offense at key times. "We just didn't handle the last two minute like we should."
Bullitt East was led in scoring by sophomore guard Taylor Blain who finished with 17 points. She is one of the few players who got extensive varsity playing time last season. Junior Cady Cornell, who was not even part of the varsity last season, tossed in 15 points.
Presentation was led by Shelby Adams with 19 points.
In the past, this would have been a key early season Sixth Region showdown. That is no longer the case as the same realignment that has put Bullitt East in a different district than its two Bullitt County counterparts also shifted Presentation out of the Sixth Region and into the Seventh Region. The Toppers are now in the 25th District with pre-season number one Manual.
After playing at home on Friday against Bullitt Central, the Lady Chargers will be back on the road on Tuesday to take on Butler. Bullitt East and Butler have met in the last two Sixth Region finals with the Bearettes winning by one-point last season and three points in 2009.
That game will be part of a girl/boy doubleheader with the Lady Chagers taking the court at 6 p.m.
BULLITT EAST 53 (13-15-10-15) Emily Fryman 8, Courtney Pfister 2, Ashley Duvall 6, Kaleigh Sharpe 1, Cady Cornell 15, Taylor Blain 17, Taylor Williamson 1, Sara Stevens 3.
PRESENTATION 57 (21-8-13-15) Humphreys 4, Reeder 10, Adams 19, Kirchner 3, Ovst 6, Degner 8 Andres 7.