TAYLORSVILLE - The Bullitt Central basketball programs beat the snow and one of them picked up a win on Friday on a trip to Taylorsville to take on former district rivals Spencer County.
The action started with the boys game, but the Cougars could not make it two in a row as the maroon and gray dropped a 56-42 decision to the Bears.
Following homecoming ceremonies for the host school, the Lady Cougars took the floor and found themselves in big trouble before an 18-2 run midway through the second half erased a six-point deficit and propelled coach Bryan Bates’ team to a 60-49 victory.
Lady Cougars Win
Spencer County might only have had three wins entering Friday night’s contest, but be it homecoming or whatever, the Lady Bears came out with their fangs sharpened.
The home team pulled ahead 22-21 at halftime and with the first five points of the second half, took their biggest lead of the game, forcing Bates to call a time-out less than two minutes into the second half. Coming out of the break, the Lady Cougars’ got a three-pointer from junior Janie Baumgardner which started the 18-2 surge.
Before the end of the third quarter, Bullitt Central had moved ahead 30-29 and then kept the pedal to the metal to push the lead all the way out to 39-29 before Spencer County finally broke a nearly five minute long dry spell with two free throws. From that point on, Spencer County never got closer than six points and Bullitt Central at one point pushed the margin to 15 points at 55-40.
The 18-2 run started with the long bucket by Baumgardner, but it was the play of sophomores Kaitlyn McKnight and Seaera Minyard that fueled the Lady Cougars surge. McKnight drove to the basket and either took the shot or made a pass, often to Minyard. The two scored 12 of the 18 points in the big run.
“I just kept telling them not to panic,” Bates said of keeping his team in the game. “We didn’t shot it well in the first half. We did a good job in the second half.
“We changed our defenses,” the coach added. “We went full-court man-to-man press instead of a zone. We got some steals off of it and got the momentum. Then Seaera had her best game of the season with 15 points and nine rebounds.”
McKnight added 13 points while the team’s only senior, Logan Wood, finished with 12 points.
“Kaitlyn made good decisions tonight and didn’t force things,” Bates said. “She is a scorer who loves to go to the basket and find ways to score.”
Macenzie Smith paced Spencer County with 17 points.
Bullitt Central and Spencer County will meet again in a girls’ game next Wednesday in Shepherdsville.
A recurring problem surfaced again on Friday for the Cougars as coach Joe Pat Lee’s team struggled to put the ball in the basket. That led to a 56-42 loss to Spencer County.
This was the second loss of the season for the Cougars against the Bears. Spencer County beat the maroon and gray in the semi-finals of the North Bullitt holiday tournament.
Bullitt Central managed to stay close, only trailing 20-19 at halftime. The Cougars even tied the game at 22-22 on Caleb Craddock’s three-pointer early in the second half, but after the score was tied at 24-24, Spencer County scored ten straight points to take control of the contest.
Early in the fourth quarter, Bullitt Central scored six straight points to pull within 37-32 and moments later a basket by senior Travis Stepp pulled the visitors within 39-36. Twice the team had the ball and a chance to get closer, but missed open shots. Spencer County then went on a 13-2 run to put the game away.
“It was nothing they were doing special,” Lee said after the game. “It was us not doing little things. We’re working hard but our Achilles heel is our shooting and that makes it tough.”
Bullitt Central made just two of 18 three-point shots in this game.
While he wasn’t laughing about it during the game, Lee did smile after the game at the memory of a goal-tending call on his team in the first half. With no player on the team over 6-1, the Cougars really have no chance at touching a ball above the rim. Just a bad call by the official accounted for the two free points.
Bullitt Central got 13 points each from Stepp and Craddock, but no other Cougar player scored more than six points.
At Spencer County
BULLITT CENTRAL 60 (11-10-18-21) Logan Wood 12, Keoka Hilliard 5, Janie Baumgardner 6, Seaera Minyard 15, Kaitlyn McKnight 13, Ashleigh Pollard 6, Kristen Collins 3.
SPENCER COUNTY 49 (6-16-9-18) Spencer 3, Smith 17, Pfeiffer 9, Thomas 12, Myers 8.
At Spencer County
BULLITT CENTRAL 42 (11-8-7-16) Travis Stepp 13, Caleb Craddock 13, Ryan Schnellenberger 4, Miciah Ocasio 6, Corey Smith 4, John Sullivan 2.
SPENCER COUNTY 56 (10-10-14-22) L. Dunbar 12, Wyatt 16, Miller 6, Goodwin 9, Barlow 1, C. Dunbar 11, Thacker 2.