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Christmas comes early this hoops seasons

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Santa is not scheduled to be here until later this wee, but for area sports fans and teams, Christmas has arrived early this year.

     Despite not having that ‘mega’ team like we had last year with the boys’ team at Bullitt East, we seem to have a lot of really good teams this winter. As of Friday night, five of the six area basketball teams had winning records with two teams undefeated and four of the five not having more than one loss.

     That is a great way to start the season.

     We will learn even more about the teams during all the holiday tournaments and games that are now taking place.

     At least at this point, the talk of the area has to be the North Bullitt Lady Eagles. Never has the program gotten off to such a strong start, standing at 7-0 heading into a post-Christmas tournament later this week. Coach Amber Courtney’s team has the signature win of the season to this point when they beat Assumption 43-41 a night after getting past Bullitt Central.

     At the beginning of the season, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers were expected to be powerful and to this point they have been, despite not shooting the ball well. We should know a lot more about the team after tonight when they take on either Manual or Ballard in the championship game of the Bullitt East/Vision First Holiday Tournament.

     Bullitt Central makes it three-for-three on the girls’ side as they had a 4-2 record heading into the weekend tournament at Spencer County. Yeah, the Lady Cougars are young and inconsistent, but they have shown flashes of being able to be a good team by the end of February when the games get more important.

     First Look – North Bullitt is the favorite to make it three straight 23rd District titles and Bullitt Central should return to the final against the Lady Eagles with both teams advancing to the Sixth Region Tournament. It certainly appears that Bullitt East will battle Mercy for the top two spots in the 24th District.

     Second Look – There is never a ‘down’ year in the Sixth Region. Butler has already beaten Bullitt East as well as Manual while Mercy, expected to be a little down this year, isn’t down, as they recently beat a top five team in Elizabethtown. At this point, Butler is slightly ahead of the pack but Bullitt East, Mercy and North Bullitt could all be there by the first week of March.

     Big Games – Bullitt East plays at Mercy on Jan. 21 and they host North Bullitt on Feb. 5.

Boys’ Winning

     Everybody thought that Bullitt East would be good this year, but a 6-0 start has shown the team to be ahead of the curve for a squad that returned no starters from a year ago. The win over Butler on the road was impressive.

     At Bullitt Central, head coach Joe Pat Lee was telling everyone that his Cougars would be strong this season and so far that has been the case. The team was 5-1 heading to Bowling Green for the first of two holiday tournaments. As long as Brett Bourland can stay out of foul trouble, the Cougars should be able to compete with everyone on the schedule.

     Bullitt Central already has a win over Southern so they are in a good position as far as the 23rd District is concerned.

     The only team with a losing record at this point is North Bullitt, but this is a team that is playing as well as could be expected at this point. Honestly, they are not physically imposing and they can’t rebound, but they have played hard for head coach Dick Briggs and if that continues there will be wins this season.

     First Look – Bullitt Central and Moore are the top teams in the 23rd District while Bullitt East will face some tough competition from both Jeffersontown and/or Fern Creek in the 24th District. The key there could be beating those teams in the regular season and getting the number one seed so they don’t have to play one of those teams in the semi-finals.

     Second Look – Pleasure Ridge Park and Doss were the top two teams in the Sixth Region in the pre-season and nothing has changed there. Doss has beaten PRP and over the weekend, Bullitt East missed a chance to face Doss in the tourney at Mercer County. At this point, Bullitt East might be the best team in that second-tier behind PRP and Doss while Bullitt Central is lurking in that pack also.

     Big Games – Bullitt Central plays host to North Bullitt again on Jan. 10 and they host Moore on Jan. 21. Bullitt East has district foes Fern Creek and Whitefield Academy the first week back when school starts. On Feb. 11, Bullitt East travels to Bullitt Central.