NEW CASTLE - Foul trouble in the second half turned into a ball and chain around the angle of the North Bullitt Eagles on Tuesday as they opened the 2012-13 season with a 59-49 loss at Henry County.
The green and gold trailed 30-21 at halftime, but then went on an 18-2 run to go up by seven points toward the end of the third quarter. Unfortunately, foul trouble for two of the team’s most experienced players, Lucas Johnson and Jalen Ratliff, stalled that momentum.
Henry County managed to pull back ahead 46-43 heading into the fourth quarter and then kept the Eagles at bay by connecting on nine of 11 free throws in the final frame.
It was just not a good start to the season for the Eagles. A day earlier, head coach Brian Courtney had learned that 6-7 sophomore Shelby Rose was leaving the program and the school. Rose had played key minutes for the Eagles down the stretch as a freshman and the loss leaves the Eagles with no player taller than 6-3.
“He had been dragging in practice,” Courtney said a few days later, noting that Rose was not going to be a starter against Henry County before the news broke. “The other kids played hard. We started a sophomore and another sophomore came off the bench. So, there I not a lot of varsity experience.”
“They will get better,” the second-year head coach said. “This time we just got killed at the free throw line.”
Playing in the Eighth Region, North Bullitt had just 13 free throw chances while Henry County took 35 shots from the charity stripe.
George led North Bullitt with 18 points while first-year senior Aaron Key, a transfer from Moore, posted 13 points. Unfortunately, no other Eagle player had more than six points.
It was just a tough night,” Courtney said. “One of our best shooters (Ricky Dunnavon) missed ten shots. It was his first varsity start. There won’t be many night he shoots like that.”
North Bullitt was back on the road on Friday to play Nelson County and the road swing will continue on Monday when the green and gold travel to the new gym at Valley to take on the Vikings in a JV/varsity doubleheader that starts at 6 p.m.
The Eagles will then play a key 23rd District game on Friday when they travel to Bullitt Central. Courtney’s team will finally get to play at home on Saturday when they host Collegiate in a girl/boy doubleheader.
At Henry County
NORTH BULLITT 49 (13-8-22-6) Aaron Key 13, Jalen Ratliff 4, Jarred George 18, Ricky Dunnavon 2, Lucas Johnson 6, Zack Gearlds 4, Dakota Clark 2.
HENRY COUNTY 59 (18-12-16-13) New 11, Howard 7, Jeffries 8, Young 8, Wundrak 7, Estes 2, West 9, Cruise 7.