Cougars win despite having their ‘B’ game against Bears

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Boys' Basketball

By Mike Farner

 TAYLORSVILLE - Unlike a number of past Bullitt Central teams, this winter’s squad can win games when they don’t have a strong outing.

That was certainly the case on Friday as the Cougars made the short trip over to Taylorsville and managed to pull out a 52-49 victory over former district rival Spencer County.

The cards were also stacked against the Cougars as the game was homecoming at Spencer County. In addition, Bullitt Central had beaten the Bears 60-40 just two weeks earlier at a ‘showcase’ event at Marion County High School.

“To beat them bad and then go on the road and not play well and still get to 17-5 for the season, we have to be excited,” Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee said after the game. “Spencer County had been playing well lately. They played Bullitt East close here and they had beaten Anderson County.”

Bullitt Central seemingly had the game safely in hand on two different occasions in the second half only to have Spencer County rally to make it tight down the stretch.

After leading 29-25 at halftime, Bullitt Central surged ahead 36-28 when back-to-back three-pointers by Damon Shepherd and Caleb Craddock forced Spencer County to call a time-out with 5:43 remaining in the third quarter. The lead then grew to 42-30 on consecutive baskets by Corey Smith, Craddock and then Smith again before the Bears called another time-out at the 2:25 mark.

Spencer County then rallied with the last six points of the third quarter and only a three-pointer by John Sullivan to open the final frame kept Bullitt Central in control as the Bears then scored five more points to get within 46-41.

Bullitt Central then couldn’t decide if they wanted to hold the ball or run their regular offense. A handful of turnovers over the next three minutes allowed the Bears to creep within 47-46 when Lee called a time-out with 2:13 remaining. The Cougars responded with a three-pointer by Ryan Schnellenberger, the team’s tenth bomb of the contest, to get a little breathing room.

Spencer County got one free throw from Brennan Smith at the 1:09 mark but Schnellenberger answered with two free throws. Bullitt Central missed two free throws at the 30 second mark and after Spencer County scored to get within 52-49, the Cougars missed two more free throws at the :10.9 mark.

After a time-out at :08.4, Spencer County had a final chance but Craddock deflected a pass at mid-court to end the final challenge.

“We were up 12 and could have pushed it out more and then they went man,” Lee noted. “All we had to do was execute on offense. We didn’t. That sometimes happens on the road. We made some big shots down the stretch though.”

The coach said that the indecision on an attack play midway through the final quarter was more just one of poor execution.

“We kept getting guys in the wrong spot,” Lee said. “We didn’t want to stall. We just needed to get them in the right spots.”

Bullitt Central got 14 points each from Craddock and Schnellenberger on a night when the team made four more three-pointers than two-pointers. Shepherd and Sullivan each added nine points.

Spencer County got 15 points from Brandon Miller and ten points by Ross Goodwin.

Bullitt Central played twice early this week and will then be off over the upcoming weekend. That time will be used to prepare for a pair of huge district games as the Cougars will travel to Moore and Southern for games next week. 


Friday at Spencer County

BULLITT CENTRAL 52 (14-15-13-10) Caleb Craddock 14, Ryan Schnellenberger 14, Damon Shepherd 9, Corey Smith 4, John Sullivan 9.

SPENCER COUNTY 49 (15-10-11-13) Smith 1, Goodwin 10, Miller 15, Hollar 9, Knotts 4, Carpenter 2, Mills 8.