SHEPHERDSVILLE - The Bullitt Central basketball program hit the road on Tuesday for a key Sixth Region trip to Dixie Highway, but the road hit back as both the Cougars and Lady Cougars dropped games they felt they should have won.
In the first game, Bullitt Central suffered through a horrible shooting night only to rally in the second half from a 10-point deficit to tie the game heading into the fourth quarter. In the end, the Lady Cougars just did not make enough shots to win.
The loss was the first this season for the maroon and gray as they dropped to 2-1 overall.
The next game was just as frustrating for the Bullitt Central faithful. The Cougars built a 10-point lead at halftime, but then were outscored 18-4 in the third quarter. Still, the Cougars regained the lead in the final 30 seconds only to lose 57-56 when Holy Cross scored on a tip-in on an out of bounds play with less than a second to play.
Bullitt Central dropped to 2-2 overall with the setback.
Poor Shooting BC
For this season, the motto of Bullitt Central head coach Bryan Bates to his girls is to shoot, shoot, shoot and then shoot some more. The team did just that on Tuesday and backed it up with strong play in other areas, but not enough of the shots hit the bottom of the net to secure a victory.
Bullitt Central ended up taking an impressive 62 shots from the field against the team ranked fourth in the pre-season coaches’ poll of Sixth Region powers. Unfortunately, only 16 of those sets were converted. In the first half, the Lady Cougars made only one of 16 shots from beyond the arc.
“It was a good game that we could have won,” Bates said a few days later. “We shot it very badly. We played hard, but we could not put it in the basket enough.”
The Lady Cougars finished the game with that 26 percent shooting. The final numbers showed the team 10 of 30 on two-point attempts and only six of 32 from beyond the arc.
“We just didn’t make them,” Bates lamented. “We had good shots. The good news was that the defense kept us in the game against a pretty good team.
“We tied it a few different times,” the veteran coach added. “We had several shots to take the lead or even tie it again. We just didn’t make many of those.
We shot a little more than they did,” the coach added. “We got some turnovers and some offensive rebounds. It was just one of those nights where it didn’t go in the basket.”
Holy Cross shot 48 percent for the game from the field. Bullitt Central stayed close with strong defense and with a 37-28 rebounding advantage. Senior Valerie Terry and sophomore Selena Yunt each finished with nine rebounds.
Bullitt Centrals offense got ten points from Terry along with nine points from Keoka Hilliard and eight points by Ashleigh Pollard.
Holy Cross was led by senior Julie Skaggs, one of the top players in the Sixth Region, as she had 14 points and 16 rebounds.
“If you had told me we would be down two and we had the shots we had, I would say that we would win,” Bates said. “I have faith they will make those in the next game.”
Bullitt Central battled Pleasure Ridge Park last Friday and the Lady Cougars will travel into Louisville on Tuesday for a key 24th district game against Southern in a game that will start at 6 p.m.
At Holy Cross
BULLITT CENTRAL 47 (7-11-20-9) Keoka Hilliard 9, Ashleigh Pollard 8, Valerie Terry 10, Seaera Minyard 7, Kaitlyn McKnight 5, Kayla Riggs 1, Kristen Collins 5, Selena Yunt 2.
HOLY CROSS 49 (9-19-12-9) Mingus 8, Skaggs 14, Hardin 8, Morabito 5, Wimberg 3, Hockman 11.
“We lost one we should have won,” Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee said of the one point loss to Holy Cross on Tuesday. “I don’t know where to start.”
Well the end was killer for the Cougars even considering that the maroon and gray had been outscored 18-4 in the third quarter. Bullitt Central regrouped from that and led going into the final 90 seconds of the game.
The Cougars’ margin was three points when they missed the front end of the bonus, but they got the rebound and Miciah Ocasio hit one of two free throws to make it a four point contest. Moments later, Holy Cross got an open look and nailed a three-pointer. The Louisville team with the Cougar nickname then moved ahead with a basket.
At the other end, Bullitt Central got what they were looking for with 20 seconds to play and junior Ryan Schnellenberger scored to give the maroon and gray the lead once again.
With the clocking ticking down, Holy Cross got a shot off, but the rebound came down to Schnellenberger. Holy Cross went for the foul, but in the pushing and shoving, a walking call was made. That gave the ball to Holy Cross under its own basket with less than a second to play.
Holy Cross then ran the perfect play, throwing the ball up for Kendall Hammerstrom to tip it in the basket as the horn sounded.
“They ran a cross-screen for the lob,” Lee recalled. “We froze on defense and they tipped it in.”
The Cougars have a 2-2 record, but they have been in every game to this point.
“The big story is that we’re still learning to win and win consistently,” Lee explained. “It’s December and we are playing like a December team. We are in every game. We just don’t have that winning mindset all the time.”
Bullitt Central was once again led by Caleb Craddock who finished with 16 points. Both Ocasio and Schnellenberger collected 11 points.
Hammerstrom led all scorers in the game with 21 points.
Bullitt Central played top-20 power Pleasure Ridge Park on Friday at home. The Cougars will go on the road early this week to battle Southern in the first intra-district contest of the season. The boys’ game will be the second in the girl/boy doubleheader that night.
At Holy Cross
BULLITT CENTRAL 56 (14-19-4-19) Miciah Ocasio 11, Caleb Craddock 16, Damon Shepherd 7, Ryan Schnellenberger 11, Luke Whitmore 4, Corey Smith 7.
HOLY CROSS 57 (9-14-18-16) Keith 2, Kaelin 2, Hagerman 6, McGohon3, Hammerstrom 21, Morris 8, Schuler 4, Bickel 4, Black 7.