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SHEPHERDSVILLE - When the season began, Bullitt Central boys’ head coach Joe Pat Lee knew one thing for certain about his team - that when they shot well they could be highly competitive and that when they didn’t shoot it consistently that there would be some long nights.
That was true on both counts on Friday as the Cougars lost to visiting Beth Haven 58-50 after leading by six points at halftime. Bullitt Central had that big lead when they converted six of 15 from beyond the arc in the first half. The lead evaporated when the team missed all 11 of its shots from the three-point area in the second half.
“We played an OK first half and then went ice cold,” Lee said a few days later. “They had one really good player in the (Stewart) Washington kid and he got 25 and we didn’t play good defense on him.”
The loss dropped the Cougars to 2-3, but the good news is that the team has been competitive most of the time this season.
“It’s frustrating that at 2-3 that we are a couple of plays from being 4-1,” Lee pointed out. “We keep doing little things that keep us from wining. Those things add up over the course of a game.
“Right now we’re just not shooting it well,” the coach added.
The Cougars trailed early against Beth Haven and were down six at the first stop. The team then roared back with a 19-7 run in the second frame to take a 31-25 lead into halftime.
Bullitt Central then scored just 19 points in the second half while giving up 33.
Beth Haven had beaten North Bullitt by two points a few days earlier and Washington had scored 22 points so Bullitt Central knew who they had to stop.
“We knew about him and we didn’t stop him,” Lee lamented. “In the half-court we did fine, but in transition we didn’t find him. Some of it was my fault in that I was having us press and I should have had us playing more man in the half-court.”
Bullitt Central was led in scoring by sophomore Damon Shepherd with 17 points. He converted a trio of three-pointers, but all of those came in the first half. The Cougars also got nine points from senior Travis Stepp and eight points each from Jordan Peercy and Caleb Craddock.
“We’re in ball games but just not doing smart things to win,” Lee said. “It’s just little things. They are playing hard, but we’re making youthful mistakes. We have to grow out of them.”
The Cougars made just 17 of 56 shots in the game. They were also 10 of 17 at the foul line.
Bullitt Central is playing without sophomore Ryan Schnellenberger at this point as he is out with mono. His return is up in the air, but he was giving the team a big boost coming off the bench.
The Cougars have a big week this week. They played Southern in an important 24th District game on Tuesday of this week which is the fine tune-up before they travel up Hwy-61 on Friday to take on arch-rival North Bullitt in the second game of a girl/boy doubleheader.
At Bullitt Central
BETH HAVEN 58 (18-7-18-15) Bennett 12, Bischof 1, Waddell 1, Lacefield 6, Washington 25, Brian 2, Pierce 11.
BULLITT CENTRAL 50 (12-19-9-10) Jordan Peercy 8, Travis Stepp 9, Caleb Craddock 8, Damon Shepherd 17, John Sullivan 3, Corey Smith 5.
Lady Cougars Stumble
The slow start for the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars continued on Friday as they went on the road and dropped a 55-51 decision to Pleasure Ridge Park.
It was a close game throughout as neither team led by more than six points at any stop. Still, it was the third straight loss for the Lady Cougars after they opened the season with a victory over Bethlehem.
While admitting that his team could use a shot of confidence from a win, veteran head coach Bryan Bates thinks that the Lady Cougars are getting better.
“People are learning their roles better but it is taking time,” the coach said. “It is taking longer than I expected and longer than it took last year or even two years ago.
“We need Keoka (Hilliard) to score which we didn’t need her to do in the past and she is starting to do that,” Bates added. “And Seaera (Minyard) needs to score and she is doing that now. We are improving.”
Both Hilliard and Minyard scored 13 points in this game as did Janie Baumgardner.
The contest on Friday was tied with about two minutes to go before the Lady Panthers pulled away.
“We didn’t close very well and had some turnovers,” Bates said.
Pleasure Ridge Park is coached by Buddy Fluhr who is in his fifth season at the helm. Before that he was the freshman coach at Bullitt Central under Bates as well as the girls’ head coach at Bernheim Middle School.
The Lady Panthers (3-1) were led by Adrienne McGhee who had 17 points.
Bullitt Central had a game against Southern on Tuesday of this week and then battle North Bullitt on Friday. It might be the only week this season in which the Lady Cougars face two teams with records of .500 or below.
“Our schedule is tougher than last year,” Bates said.
At Pleasure Ridge Park
BULLITT CENTRAL 51 (16-15-10-10) Logan Wood 4, Keoka Hilliard 13, Janie Baumgardner 13, Seaera Minyard 13, Valarie Terry 3, Rachel Faber 2, Kaitlyn McKnight 3.
PLEASURE RIDGE PARK 55 (22-11-10-12) Adwell 10, Hibbs 14, Hart 9, McClain 5, McGhee 17.