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Chargers roll early then get a battle in second half from NB

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East sweeps North in only meetings of season

By Mike Farner

    MOUNT WASHINGTON - With a 22-3 lead two minutes into the second quarter, the Bullitt East Chargers were on the road to victory on Friday as they hosted North Bullitt.
    By the end, the Chargers had a 67-41 victory, but there were enough bumps in the road to leave head coach Troy Barr still shaking his head as his team seems unable to shift into the highest gear possible.
    "Definitely early we did everything we wanted to do," Barr said in his office on homecoming night. "We got a lot of good looks at threes and they didn't go down. But, when you defend like we did that's OK."
    What had quickly caught the veteran coaches' eye on the stat sheet was that North Bullitt had outscored his team 17-13 in the third quarter.
    "At halftime we talked about winning the next two quarters," Barr recalled. "That shows that we don't have the leadership we had last year. Our seniors last year would not allow that to happen."
    Three nights earlier, Bullitt East had needed a huge fourth quarter rally to get past Fairdale. The problems at this point for the sixth-ranked team in the state is two-fold.
    "I don't know about that," Barr said when asked if his team was in a funk. "We're struggling with grades and injuries. I know on Tuesday that I spent 20 minutes before the game wrapping ankles. We just can't get into a flow."
    After playing a home-and-home series the previous 31 seasons, this was the only meeting of the regular season between the two rivals this winter. This Friday night meeting came with just a week remaining in the regular season. District play has already wrapped up for both teams.
    For North Bullitt (14-11), they knew that they had to play the perfect game to stay with the high-powered Chargers and that just wasn't in the cards in this game. It was the second time in a week that the green and gold got side-swiped by one of the best teams in the state. The previous Friday, the Eagles had lost at Moore 67-21.
    "We knew we had to play our best game," first-year North Bullitt head coach Brian Courtney said. "They are not ranked among the top-five or top-ten teams in the state for nothing.
    "That first half we just did not compete," the coach added. "We let the name on the front of the jersey shell-shock us again. At halftime I challenged them and then they decided to play."
    Brandon Goeing has been the Eagles' leading scorer all season and at one point was one of the top scorers in the state, but against Moore the senior failed to score and against Bullitt East he was held to a single basket.
    "We're playing better competition for one," Courtney said of Goeing's offensive woes. "That has a lot to do with it. We're working with him to work to get open for shots instead of trying to take shots off the dribble."
    North Bullitt did get ten points each from Zach King and Lucas Johnson.
    Bullitt East (20-4) rode the offense of juniors Rusty Troutman and Derek Willis once more. Troutman finished with 22 points and six rebounds while Willis scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half. Willis also had 14 rebounds and blocked five shots. Junior point guard Trey Rakes dished out ten assists.
    The Chargers will be right back in action on Monday night as they travel west on Highway-44 to Shepherdsville to take on Bullitt Central. North Bullitt will be on the road Monday night also, taking on former 29th District rival Spencer County in Taylorsville.
    Both venues will be girl-boy doubleheaders with action starting at 6 p.m.
Friday at Bullitt East
    NORTH BULLITT 41 (3-11-17-10)
Brandon Goeing 2, Zach King 10, Zac Lamkin 8, Lucas Johnson 10, Ryan Collins 4, Jared George 3, Adrien Wethington 2, Shelby Rose 2.
    BULLITT EAST 67 (12-28-13-14) Trey Rakes 7, Rusty Troutman 22, Derek Jones 9, Kory Caufield 4, Chris Embry 5, Derek Willis 20.   
Late Rally Saves BE
    On Tuesday, Bullitt East found themselves trailing former district rival Fairdale 51-42 after three quarters. A furious 26-11 fourth quarter rally allowed the Chargers to sneak out of Fairdale with a 68-62 victory.
    "Fairdale is much improved," Barr said a few days later. "They have done a great job with those kids. Our kids were still thinking of the Fairdale team we saw in the King of the Bluegrass. We overlooked them and they took it right too us."
    Both teams actually shot over 50 percent for the game. Barr was not pleased that Fairdale (10-13) made 24 of 34 shots from inside the arc. Bullitt East answered by making 25 of 47 shots including an eight of 20 night on three-pointers.
    Bullitt East did hurt themselves by making just ten of 18 free throws and they were outrebounded 25 to 20.
    "We did not do anything different than play harder," Barr said of the fourth quarter rally. "We had a sense of urgency. We didn't want to lose. It was like at Collins. We didn't pull that one out, but we pulled this one out and that shows we're maturing some."
    Rusty Troutman scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter while Willis finished with 20 points. Rakes handed out nine assists while scoring 14 points.
    Cory Thomas led all scorers in the game with 21 points.
Tuesday at Fairdale
    BULLITT EAST 68 (15-13-14-26)
Luke Francke 9, Trey Rakes 14, Rusty Troutman 19, Kory Caufield 2, Chris Embry 1, Derek Willis 20, Ezra Troutman 3.
    FAIRDALE 62 (19-17-15-11) Longacre 6, Brown 4, Sweat 2, Rudolph 9, Payne 14, Thomas 21, Crabtree 6.