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SHEPHERDSVILLE - Jumping out to a 21-2 lead less than six minutes into the game, the Bullitt East Chargers showed Bullitt Central how it was done Monday en route to a 79-36 victory.
Bullitt East, which a day later would find out it was ranked third in the state in the first polls during the season, pretty much had their way with the young Cougars. Derek Willis scored the first seven points for the Chargers and after fellow senior Rusty Troutman drained a three-pointer from near Pleasant Grove, the rest of the game was pretty much an extended practice for the red and gold.
Amazingly, the Chargers missed only two shots inside the arc for the entire game, making 18 of 20 two-pointers. Bullitt East was also eight of 15 on three pointers, ending the night shooting 74 percent.
This was the second straight game for the Chargers since their return from a holiday tournament in Texas and the Kentucky air seems to be suiting Bullitt East quite well.
“We’re shooting the ball extremely well,” Bullitt East head coach Troy Barr said after the game. “We’ll take that. We’ve shot it well all year, but really well the past few games.”
It was just two years ago that Bullitt East made the traditional trip to Shepherdsville and had to rally late to win by a point. The Chargers still have three starters from that game playing while Bullitt Central has had a complete turnover in its roster.
Because of that, Barr didn’t really game plan too much for this contest. Instead, he wanted his team to concentrate on what they do well.
“We just wanted to play our game,” the veteran coach said. “That’s the thing we’ve realized over the last two weeks is to play our game and worry less about our opponent. That suits us well.”
This was actually only the third game this season for Bullitt East against a traditional opponent. Barr has loaded up the Bullitt East schedule this year with top-20 teams. Still, the coach wasn’t worried about his teams focus for the Monday night game. It didn’t hurt that the game was played in front of a large crowd which was dressed heavily in red.
“Obviously, you’re playing Bullitt Central for the first time and we were ready for it,” Barr said. “The second time we’re playing them (in Mount Washington) it will be Senior Night. We don’t play too many teams twice.
“I wasn’t worried,” the coach added. “These guys want to get better. I think we got better tonight.”
Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee had devised a game plan in which he did not want his team to take a shot in the first quarter. Unfortunately, some of the team members failed to get that memo.
“That was the whole thing,” Lee said after the game, a bit miffed that his team had given up 29 points in the first quarter. “The idea was to hold it and keep the score down. We took a shot in the first minute and we weren’t supposed too. You can see why I’m upset.
“It’s about us learning to execute,” the coach added. “It showed who buys in to what we want to do.”
The good news for the Cougars is that this is not a district game and Bullitt Central will not face another team as good as Bullitt East until...well until they travel to Mount Washington on Feb. 12 for the rematch.
“It’s just another game and we’ll put it behind us,” Lee said.
Bullitt Central may have worked to focus on shutting down Willis and Troutman, but that just left 6-6 senior Elliot Young free to score a game-high 23 points. The Chargers also got 15 from Willis along with 11 from point guard Trey Rakes.
The leading scorer for the Cougars was senior Aaron Duckett with nine points while freshman Cameron Dukes came off the bench and scored eight points.
Bullitt Central played again on Tuesday at Oldham County, another team that reached the state tournament last season. The Cougars will have to bounce back quickly as they will play a key 23rd District contest at North Bullitt.
Bullitt East has the rest of this week off and will not play again until Monday when they travel to South Oldham.
At Bullitt Central
BULLITT EAST 79 (29-27-13-10) Tyler Sharpe 3, Trey Rakes 11, Rusty Troutman 9, Rhett Troutman 7, Hunter Noffsinger 7, Elliot Young 23, Blake Allen 2, Derek Willis 15, Ezra Troutman 2.
BULLITT CENTRAL 36 (9-14-1-12) Aaron Duckett 9, Brett Bourland 7, Ken Dockery 3, Roy Crable 2, Cameron Dukes 8, Javi Farrell 2, Dawson 5.