Bullitt East sews up top seeds in royal style

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By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON – The two Bullitt East basketball programs wrapped up the number one seeds for the upcoming 24th District Basketball Tournaments on Thursday with a sweep of visiting Jeffersontown High School.

     Jeffersontown will be hosting the 24th District Tournament starting next Monday.

     In the boys’ game, Bullitt East exploded for 28 points in an impressive third quarter to pull away from the other Chargers to win 79-59. Bullitt East had beaten Jeffersontown 63-54 in an early round game of the Boys’ Louisville Invitational Tournament back on Jan. 15. The regular season game had then been pushed back ten days because of bad weather the previous week.

     The evening started with the Bullitt East Lady Chargers scoring 25 points in the first five minutes of the game and then blowing out Jeffersontown 77-27. It was the fourth straight win for the Lady Chargers.

     Both of the Bullitt East squads were undefeated in district play during the regular season as far as seeding games were concerned.

Big Third Quarter

     Leading 35-32 at halftime, the Bullitt East boys’ team broke the game open by scoring 28 points in the third quarter as they pushed the lead to 18 points. On offense, the Chargers got ten points from sophomore Tyler Sharpe and eight from senior Rhett Troutman in the third frame to secure their 20th win of the season.

     Just as importantly, Bullitt East held Jeffersontown standout Brandon Marshall to just three points in the third quarter after he had posted 16 points in the first half. Marshall finished the game with 26 points.

     “We had a nice run at the end of the first and second quarters and then we continued that into the third quarter,” Bullitt East head coach Bob Blackburn said. “We were just clicking.”

     Bullitt East had defeated the other two teams in the district, Whitefield Academy and Fern Creek by a combined three points in the regular season meeting (and had a loss to Fern Creek in the LIT), but they have had their way with Jeffersontown.

     “They are a very, very good basketball team,” Blackburn said of a squad that was ranked slightly ahead of the red and gold in the computer rankings. “Obviously, they have played good competition and they have lost some tough games. But they are a good team.”

     With the game tied at 24-24 at the 4:55 mark of the second quarter and Rhett Troutman on the bench with two fouls, Blackburn called a time-out after a questionable three point shot from his offense. While Jeffersontown did take a momentary lead after the break, the Chargers ended the half with an 8-1 run to take the lead for good.

     “We just wanted to settle down and pass the basketball,” Blackburn recalled. “We have preached the extra pass and we did that in the second and third quarters.”

     Bullitt East used ten players in this game and had seven players scored at least seven points. Sharpe led the way with 19 points while Rhett Troutman had 17. Bailey Rakes came off the bench to score ten points.

     “That’s a huge part of our game,” Blackburn said of the deep bench. “We played ten players. Sometimes we play ten a lot and other times not as much. Tonight was a good team effort.”

     Marshall had the 26 points for Jeffersontown (13-12) and Brandon Johnson had 12, but no other Charger players scored more than six points.

     Jeffersontown has the number two seed in the district, having beaten Fern Creek 79-77 in overtime. They will play the Tigers again next Wednesday in the district tournament, a night after Bullitt East plays Whitefield Academy. It is the third straight year that the bracketing has worked out this way in the district.


Thursday at Bullitt East

     JEFFERSONTOWN 59 (20-12-13-14) White 4, Marshall 26, Jenkins 5, Williams 6, Johnson 12, Mercer 4, Minor 2.

     BULLITT EAST 79 (22-13-28-16) Rhett Troutman 17, Ezra Troutman 8, Tyler Bacon 9, Jared Farris 7, Brandon Klefot 9, Bailey Rakes 10, Tyler Sharpe 19.


Quick Start

     It was all Bullitt East in the girls’ game on Thursday despite a five-minute offensive outage in the first half as the red and gold eventually pummeled Jeffersontown 77-27.

     Bullitt East raced out to a 25-10 lead at the 3:14 mark of the first quarter, but then did not score the rest of the first quarter or early in the second frame. Still, it didn’t matter as the Jefferson County Lady Chargers were only able to score 14 points in the first quarter and 13 points the rest of the way.

     Bullitt East (20-5) went on to a 40-17 lead by halftime and despite a running clock for the final 12 minutes of the contest, were able to outscore the visitors 27-10 in the second half.

     The win was the fourth in a row for the Lady Chargers since a setback to Sacred Heart. Bullitt East has just one game remaining this season and that is at Sacred Heart on Friday.

     It was a solid win in front of a large homecoming crowd. Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings was pleased that his team kept its focus on a busy night in which senior guard Taylor Blain was named homecoming queen.

     “With it being homecoming it was important that we stayed focused throughout the game,” the veteran coach said. “We got contributions from a lot of kids. They need to all be on the same page. For the most part we were.”

     Stallings used all 12 players that dressed for the game and each of the 12 scored at least one basket.

     Lindsey Duvall led the Lady Chargers with 20 points while Blain scored 12.


Thursday at Bullitt East

     JEFFERSONTOWN 27 (14-3-6-4) Kelly 5, Molestina 9, Newell 1, Dyson 4, Scott 4, Pearl 4.

     BULLITT EAST 77 (25-15-16-21) Emily Fryman 2, Courtney Pfishter 9, Lindsey Duvall 20, Kaleigh Sharpe 6, Alyssa Peak 7, Megan Marksbury 2, Kirstie Henn 4, Taylor Blain 12, Mackenzie Bass 4, Raegan Williams 6, Kelli Lutes 3, Shelby Flener 2.