Cougars shift gears-literally-in three days

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - After a series of frighteningly bad offensive showings this season, Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee decided after the team scored 40 points in a loss to North Bullitt, that the pace had to pick up.

That was certainly the case three days after the sputtering effort against North Bullitt as the Cougars exploded for a season-high 87 points on Monday against visiting Kentucky Country Day, a team with a winning record. Unfortunately, the maroon and gray tired down the stretch, giving up the final five points in falling 91-87.

Before the Monday night game, Bullitt Central had not scored more than 61 points in any game this season. In half of their first 17 games, the Cougars failed to score more than 50 points.

“We felt the last couple of games that they weren’t playing as hard as they could,” Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee said a few days later. “We wanted to pick up the pace. We didn’t shoot it quick.

“We got out and ran and the effort was outstanding,” the coach added. “The kids played their rear ends off. I’m proud of them for that.”

Bullitt had a 69-59 lead heading into the fourth quarter and they were still up five points with 90 seconds to play. The Cougars then had a bad finish that included a technical foul that was followed by a three-pointer from the Bearcats.

“In the first half we shot well,” Lee said. “We had six threes in the first half (eight for the game). Then we got a lot of lay-ups attacking the basket in the second half.”

Bullitt Central played without junior center Brett Bourland who was serving a one-game suspension for a violation of team rules. Bourland was going to play on Saturday at East Jessamine.

Without Bourland, Bullitt Central turned to junior Zach Humphrey and the guard had his career-best offensive performance as he scored 23 points. Senior Aaron Duckett pitched in with 22 points. 

KCD also had eight three-pointers in the game and seven of those were by Anthony Mathis who scored 27 points for the Bearcats. The winners also got 28 points from Robert Scholtz.

After playing on Saturday at East Jessamine, the Cougars did alter their schedule for the first part of this week. Because of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, a game originally schedule for that day against DeSales will not be played on Tuesday at DeSales.

Bullitt Central still has regularly scheduled district game at Evangel on Wednesday before returning home for a girl-boy doubleheader that will be homecoming in Shepherdsville.

At Bullitt Central

KENTUCKY COUNTRY DAY 91 (16-20-23-32) Mathis 27, Ferguson 10, Scholtz 28, Lyles 12, Wilson 12, Alford 2.

BULLITT CENTRAL 87 (21-24-24-18) Jacob Wampler 6, Aaron Duckett 22, Zach Humphrey 23, Jake Gillard 13, Ken Dockery 6, Alex Cromer 4, Colin Trent 3, Cameron Dukes 10.

BE Defense Rules

Bullitt East’s domination of Kentucky opponents continued on Monday of last week as the Chargers put together a stellar defensive effort and cruised past former Eight Region rival South Oldham for a 63-36 victory.

The Chargers moved to 14-3 with the win. For the season, two of the three losses have come to teams from outside Kentucky. The Chargers’ 14-1 record within the state includes only a loss to Madison Central, a team that Bullitt East has also beaten this season.

This game in PeWee Valley was competitive for a half as Bullitt East had only a 30-24 advantage at halftime. That all changed in the third quarter when the state’s third-ranked team went on a 19-0 surge to break the game open. South Oldham did not score in the third quarter.

This was not an undermanned team that Bullitt East beat. South Oldham is the second-ranked team in the Eighth Region (behind Martha Layne Collins, a team that Bullitt East will face on Friday for homecoming) and came into the game with wins in 12 of 16 contests for the season.

Bullitt East was led by senior Rusty Troutman with 17 points while Derek Willis scored 14.

Later in the week, the first KHSAA State Boys’ Basketball Statistic Leaders were announced. Troutman is the 13th best three-point shooter in the state, converting 2.5 a game, having made 37 of 81 attempts.

Bullitt East is also the best free throw shooting team in the state at 77.3 percent through 15 games. The Chargers have made 211 of their 273 free throw attempts.

The red and gold are also 11th in the state in overall shooting at 48.8 percent.

After playing in the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions last week, the Chargers will be back in Kentucky for the rest of the season. Bullitt East has a district game on Tuesday at Fern Creek that will be a boy-girl doubleheader. On Friday, the Chargers have the homecoming meeting with Collins, the state’s 17th-ranked team.

At South Oldham

BULLITT EAST 63 (13-17-19-14) Tyler Sharpe 3, Trey Rakes 10, Rusty Troutman 17, Rhett Troutman 1, Hunter Noffsinger 7, Elliot Young 9, Chris Embry 2, Derek Willis 14.

SOUTH OLDHAM 36 (6-18-0-12) Mi. Haysley 2, Ma. Haysley 3, Griffin 6, Goodlet 5, Young 9, Jones 2, Catinna 2, Greenwood 3, Sherry 4.