MOUNT WASHINGTON - The 2001 high school basketball regular season was extended by four minutes for the Bullitt East Chargers on Friday, but that worked out just fine as the red and gold completed a furious rally in beating Sixth Region rival DeSales 84-81.
Other than an early 5-2 advantage, the Chargers never lead during regulation time. In fact, Bullitt East trailed 65-55 with less than four minutes to play before reeling off seven straight points in just 90 seconds.
Still, coach Troy Barr’s team didn’t force the overtime until 6-8 sophomore Derek Willis drained a three-pointer with 10 seconds to play to tie the score at 72-72. Bullitt East then scored the first seven points in the overtime period before giving some of that back.
Leading 81-80, the Chargers got one of two free throws from senior Hayden Sweat at :12.9. DeSales got two shots off down the stretch before Ryan Blackwell was fouled by Sweat at :01.7. After Barr called a time-out, Blackwell missed the first of the two shots and then made the second. Bullitt East inbounded the ball to Brett Hatfield, who was fouled and he hit both free throws for the final margin.
Just three weeks ago, DeSales (14-15) had reached the championship game of the Class ‘A’ Tournament in Richmond before falling to Betsy Layne. Two nights later, the Colts had bombed Bullitt Central 64-38.
“We didn’t play well for 28 minutes, I will give you that,” Barr said as he finally got a chance to relax. “Fortunately, DeSales didn’t take advantage of that with a bigger lead.
“I thought we turned it up the last four minutes and we had a sense of urgency,” the veteran coach added. “We found a way to win.”
DeSales had a 35-21 lead late in the first half before the Chargers got a three-pointer from Willis and a basket from Rusty Troutman to cut the margin to nine points at halftime. Bullitt East did get back to within 49-45 entering the fourth quarter only to have the Colts ease back out to the 65-55 advantage midway through the final frame.
Bullitt East answered with two free throws from Sweat and then a basket by Corey Washburn and a free throw by Willis at the 1:51 mark to make it 65-60 and force DeSales to call a timeout. Washburn then hit two free throws at 1:37 before DeSales’ point guard Corbin Maynard hit three of four free throws.
The Chargers kept coming as Troutman nailed a three-pointer to make it 68-65. After Maynard hit another free throws, Washburn powered inside for a basket to make it 69-67 with 32.5 seconds remaining. Maynard hit another free throw at :28.8 before Washburn converted two foul shots after grabbing a rebound.
Bullitt East fouled Maynard before any time ran off the clock and this time the DeSales player hit both free throws to make it 72-69. That set up Willis’ bomb from the top of the key to forced the overtime.
The game seemingly turned Bullitt East’s way when the Chargers scored six straight points to open the overtime. Then, with just 1:40 to play, Washburn was fouled and DeSales drew a technical for the reaction. Unfortunately, the Chargers converted just one of the four free throws. That turned out to be big when four seconds later, Washburn was whistled for his fourth four and was then sent to the bench with a technical for arguing that call. DeSales connected on all four free throws by Brandon Brooks and then scored on a jumper by Jake Sliter that made it 79-78.
Willis kept Bullitt East ahead with two free throws just inside the one minute mark. Neither team scored again until Brooks hit two free throws at :16.1 to make it 81-80. That led into Sweat’s made free throw and the miss by Blackwell.
The win was the 10th in a row for the Chargers to close out the regular season and left them with a 22-5 mark heading into 24th District play where they will play on Wednesday at Bullitt Central at 6 p.m. against the winner of the North Bullitt and Southern game played on Monday.
Barr will be looking for some better practices out of his team this week.
“A lot of it goes back to our practice on Thursday,” Barr said. “We had a very poor practice yesterday. I was on the guys. I don’t expect that at this time of year. We stunk it up in practice and we did that for the first 28 minutes tonight.”
The Chargers were playing in front of Purdue University head coach Matt Painter, who was in Mount Washington to get a look at Willis. That puts a little extra pressure on teenagers.
Willis responded with 26 points and 14 rebounds.
“I don’t know if that played a part in the way we played or not,” Barr said. “That will be a part of our world for the next two-and-a-half years so we have to be ready for it.”
Bullitt East also got 22 points from Washburn along with 21 by Sweat.
Brooks led all scorers in the game with 29 points while the Colts also got 16 points from Evan Bingham and 15 by Corbin Maynard. Sam Keehner, who played with Sweat and Washburn at Mount Washington Middle School, had nine points for DeSales.
At Bullitt East
DESALES 81 (17-18-14-23-9) Maynard 15, Sliter 8, Brooks 29, Duncan 3, Keehner 9, Blackwell 1, Bingham 16.
BULLITT EAST 84 (14-12-19-27-12) Trey Rakes 6, Rusty Troutman 7, Hayden Sweat 21, Brett Hatfield 2, Derek Willis 26, Corey Washburn 22.
Nine in a Row
Bullitt East ran their winning streak to nine games on Tuesday of last week with an 83-62 victory over Elizabethtown.
The Chargers won easily despite the fact that the Fifth Region team shot almost three times as many free throws. Bullitt East countered with eight three-pointers and also had seven more two-pointers than the Panthers.
Willis led Bullitt East with 23 points while the Chargers also got 19 points from Sweat, 18 from Washburn and 10 points from Rakes.
Mitchell Henry led Elizabethtown with 17 points.
BULLITT EAST 83 (26-20-26-11) Jacob Read 1, Luke Francke 2, Trey Rakes 10, Rusty Troutman 5, Jacob Miller 1, Hayden Sweat 19, Derek Willis 23, Reece Hardin 4, Corey Washburn 18.
ELIZABETHTOWN 62 (11-22-12-17) Jones 3, McDonald 15, Henry 17, Flood 8, Lucas 4, Farrow 5, Byrd 10.