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Cougars struggle on Lexington trip

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Boys' Basketball

By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Bullitt Central’s shooting woes continued last week as the team spent three days in Lexington taking part in the Sayre Holiday Classic, a 4-team round-robin event that was eventually won by the host team.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the Cougars struggled to find the range shooting the ball. The tournament started with the maroon and gray connecting on 20 percent of its shots, then 25 percent in the second game before the team did connect on 37 percent of its shots.

Unfortunately, the team lost all three games on the trip, although despite the poor shooting, they had a chance to win the last two games of the event.

“We’re shooting beyond bad,” Cougar head coach Joe Pat Lee said after the team returned to school earlier this week. “We’ve done a lot of good stuff and we’re playing hard. Our shooting is just magnifying everything.”

The second holiday tournament left the Cougars with a 4-9 record.

The tournament started with the Cougars scoring just 10 points in the first half against the host team and falling behind by 19 points en route to a 64-40 setback.

No Cougar player reached double-digits in scoring for this game as the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Caleb Craddock failed to make a shot and scored just one point. Junior Miciah Ocasio led the offense with eight points.

A night later, the Cougars were back in action and taking on a team from Ohio, Miami Valley. This game didn’t have a lot of offense, but it was close most of the way. Bullitt Central scored just 15 points in the first half, but still led by three points at the break only to come out and score just four points in the third quarter.

Still, Bullitt Central battled back and the game was tied with 30 seconds to play. The Cougars missed a lay-up that would have put them ahead and then had a shot blocked at the end of the 36-33 loss.

Craddock led the Cougars with 13 points, but no other Bullitt Central player scored more than eight points.

In the final game of the tourney for the Cougars, they had chances to beat Leslie County and even forced an overtime before falling 72-65. The two teams combined to score 37 points in the extra period as Leslie County converted 12 of 20 free throw chances over the last four minutes. Bullitt Central made just two free throws in the overtime.

For the game, Bullitt Central made nine three-pointers as their offense did improve. Craddock led the way with 28 points including four three-pointers. The team also got 12 points from Damon Shepherd along with eight points each from Travis Stepp and Randy Hurst.

This tournament was the first varsity action for Hurst, a sophomore. Lee dressed all the varsity and junior-varsity players for the holiday tournament and when the team got in foul trouble, turned to Hurst who had some good offensive performances.

Still, it all goes back to poor shooting.

“We go back and look at the tape and we’re taking good shots,” the coach said. “We’re just not making them. We felt like we had a good shooting team. We shoot it well in practice.”

The Cougars got back to the regular season action earlier this week against Fairdale and they will play a girl/boy doubleheader on Friday at Atherton.

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Sayre Holiday Classic at Sayre H.S.

First Game

BULLITT CENTRAL 40 (6-4-15-15) Jordan Peercy 5, Travis Stepp 5, Damon Shepherd 5, Caleb Craddock 1, Corey Smith 4, Miciah Ocasio 8, Luke Whitmore 2, Dean West 2, Randy Hurst 2.

SAYRE 64 (14-15-20-15) Freeman 8, O’Rourke 4, Smith 19, Park 2, Miller 10, Johnson15, Strup 1, Patterson 3, Brewer 2.

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Second Game

BULLITT CENTRAL 33 (4-11-4-14) Travis Stepp 4, Damon Shepherd 4, Caleb Craddock 13, Corey Smith 8, Luke Whitmore 4.

MIAMI VALLEY (OH.) 36 (8-4-15-9) Rowe 7, Diatt 16, Watson 4, Bennett 4, Soseree 5.

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Third Game

BULLITT CENTRAL 65 (12-18-12-10-15) Jordan Peercy 4, Travis Stepp 8, Caleb Craddock 28, Corey Smith 4, Damon Shepherd 12, Randy Hurst 8, Luke Whitmore 1.

LESLIE COUNTY 72 (11-15-14-10-22) Hensley 24, Johnson 5, Asher 25, Ballard 1, Ca. Maggard 2, Whitaker 4, Jones 5, Ch. Maggard 6.