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Chargers won’t play in 2013 Boys’ LIT

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BE’s Willis, Barr already selected for Derby Festival contest

By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Good news, bad news. That is the best way to describe the past few months for the local sports scene.

No, I’m not talking about the on-field performances because this spring that was mostly good news. No, the situation I’m talking about is the number of college signings by athletes from the three local high schools.

Obviously, that is good news for them. The more the merrier to say the least. Unfortunately, the record number of signings so far (and I’m anticipating at least a few more over the next month), means that I am well behind on those stories.

For that I will apologize. However, I don’t think it is fair to just throw all of those together at one time. That wouldn’t be fair to those who have signed or to the other sports that are more time-based.

At one point a week ago my list of signings showed that I was ten behind. A few have run since that time and there is another one in this issue. Still, signing stories will continue until at least the Fourth of July.

Certainly congratulations to all of those this school year who have performed well enough to get the attention of area colleges. It also shows that those individuals have done the work in the classroom.

This is my first column in a few months and a lot of things have been filling my reporter’s pad. I’ll also be whittling down those numbers over the next few weeks between now and the summer youth All-Star games that will start in early July.

No LIT for BE in 2013

One of the biggest ‘untold’ stories of the spring is that the Bullitt East Chargers, a team that will be ranked among the top three teams at the start of upcoming basketball season, have opted not to take part in the Boys’ Louisville Invitational Tournament in January.

That news has been common knowledge around the Charger camp for a while now, but both coach Troy Barr and athletic director Bob Blackburn have said recently that they have not passed that news along to the LIT committee.

My guess is that the Boys’ LIT committee will not be happy with that news. In the past, Bullitt East has worked much closer with the two LIT committees to make themselves available for the tournament. As the name implies, there is no guarantee that the Bullitt County teams will automatically be invited or even be eligible to be invited.

The LIT committees have worked with Bullitt East for the past several years since they are part of the Sixth Region. As an example, the Oldham County schools are not in the LIT mix since they do not play in the Sixth or Seventh Region.

(The Bullitt Central and North Bullitt teams, both boys’ and girls’ teams, were excluded from the LIT this past season because they had scheduled games during LIT week the year before. They played games this past season, against each other in fact, during the boys’ LIT week. The Bullitt Central boys’ had the computer numbers to play in last year’s event, as did the Lady Cougars the year before, but were not eligible. Neither school is working their schedule around the LIT and I don’t see that changing.)

It should be pointed out that the Bullitt East Lady Chargers are planning and scheduling to be available for the Girls’ LIT in late January.

Barr had said during his wrap-up interview in late March that the Chargers had a lot of offers for in-season tournaments around the country. With senior-to-be Derek Willis already committed to the University of Kentucky, Bullitt East is a hot commodity to the big national tournaments.

At his recent Charger Youth Camp, Barr was handing out schedules to the young campers for the upcoming season and there was no LIT slated. The schedule is complete.

It should be noted to area fans that the Chargers will play only six games in Mount Washington next season as well as a game at Bullitt Central.

Bullitt East will play once again in the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Tournament at Fairdale before Christmas and then the team will board a plane for Dallas, Texas to play in the WhatABurger Tournament after Christmas.

The event that will replace the LIT is in Missouri that will have eight of the top high school teams in the country. That event will be played over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Barr said that they are getting all expenses paid for that event.

Derby Festival Bound

Another bit of news on the Charger program that hasn’t been publicized to this point is that both Willis and Barr have already been invited to the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic that will be played next April in Louisville.

In recent years, that All-Star game has suffered at times when they don’t get players heading to the University of Kentucky. So, this time around, they sort of jumped the gun and invited Willis early.

In addition, the group asked Barr to coach in the game. He has accepted that role.

High School seniors are limited to two All-Star games in the spring (which does not include playing for the Kentucky All-Stars in June). So, with the Derby Festival invite already in hand, look for Willis to hold off on the second All-Star game as he will be hoping for an invitation to the McDonald’s All-Star game, the top spring All-Star event.

Bullitt East’s Derek Willis and Rusty Troutman will both be part of a Kentucky Junior All-Star team that will take on a team from Indiana in a pair of games this weekend.

The event is in conjunction with the Kentucky-Indiana All-Star series which was played last weekend with Indiana once again sweeping the series between the top players from each state.

Willis and Troutman, along with teammate Trey Rakes, were part of a Junior All-Star team that scrimmaged the Kentucky All-Star squad last week to help prepare them for the two games against Indiana. Willis scored 16 points against the Kentucky All-Stars in the scrimmage at Trinity.

Willis opted to play in these two games instead of taking part in the NBA Players Development Camp.

There will be a girls’ scrimmage before each of the workouts this weekend. The teams will play starting at 6 p.m. on Friday at Heritage Christian High School in Indianapolis before the teams move to Kentucky on Saturday for workouts at North Oldham High School with the girls’ game set to start at 5:30 p.m.

The Kentucky All-Star program is under the sponsorship of the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation.