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LOUISVILLE – For the first time ever, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers beat Mercy in a 24th District game on Wednesday as they jumped on top early and then rolled to an impressive 63-38 victory.
The game has been moved back one night before of bad weather the previous day. As it turned out, Mercy had classes on game day, but Bullitt East did not. Still, the Lady Chargers jumped out to a 23-8 lead after one quarter and never looked back, outscoring the 2010 State Champions in each quarter.
In fact, it was 2010 the last time Bullitt East beat Mercy, but that ame in a ‘showcase’ event at the University of Louisville. The team rivals have only been in the same district for the past two seasons. In each of those seasons, Mercy beat Bullitt East in the regular season as well as the championship game of the 24th District Tournament.
That recent history made this win very sweet even if this is not one of Mercy’s better teams. With the loss, the Jaguars fell to 9-7 before dropping two games over the weekend in their own ‘showcase’ event.
Still, Mercy is the only team in Kentucky to beat number-one ranked Elizabethtown, something they did back on Dec. 17 in a game at Mercy. Two weeks later, Elizabethtown, got a lot of revenge, beating the Jaguars 66-47 in a holiday tournament game in Lexington.
Five nights before losing to Bullitt East, Mercy had lost by an 83-62 count to Sixth Region rival Butler, one of only two teams that had beaten the Lady Chargers (13-2) up to that game.
“It’s always nice to come over here and win,” veteran Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said after he met with his team. “It’s for the number one seed in the district.”
True. While Bullitt East does still have a game with Jeffersontown, on Feb. 4, the win all but wrapped up the number one seed in the 24th District Tournament that will be played the last week of February at Jeffersontown. Mercy has won the last two district titles after having the number one seed.
“We’re in a little situation where we should meet them (again) in the (district) final,” Stallings pointed out. “So, it’s always nice to come over here and compete.”
After beating defending state champion Marion County the previous Saturday, Bullitt East had been able to practice on the next Monday. Then, bad weather meant no practice on Tuesday and while the team tried to practice earlier in the day on Wednesday, that didn’t work out, so they met Mercy without much of a game plan in place.
“I thought our experience showed,” Stallings said.
While Bullitt East did get 45 of its 63 points from freshmen and sophomores, the team does start four seniors along with freshman Lindsey Duvall. Duvall had the hot-hand in this game, leading all scorers with 26 points.
Mercy opened the scoring in the game with a free throw, but Bullitt East scored the next 11 points including a three-pointer from senior Courtney Pfister, the only three-pointer that the Lady Chargers made in the game. After Mercy cut it back to five points, Bullitt East scored the last ten points of the quarter including the last six from Duvall.
While the Jaguars did get within 25-17 early in the second quarter, Bullitt East finished the half with an 11-1 one run that put them up 36-18 at halftime. With a 10-2 run to open the second half, Bullitt East was on cruise control the rest of the way as Mercy never got closer than 13 points.
“We only talked about a few things,” Stallings said of preparation for this meeting. “We had limited gym time so there are some things we have to work on. Finishing is on of those things.”
Stallings called a time-out at the 3:11 mark of the first quarter and the Lady Chargers then scored ten straight points. After a time-out early in fourth quarter, Bullitt East stopped an 11-0 Mercy run
“The kids refocused out of each time-out,” Stallings pointed out. “We had the one early and did well. Then we were struggling there early in the fourth quarter and responded after a time-out.”
Mercy got 16 points from Hannah Bewley, but no other Jaguar scored more than seven points.
“Mercy is hard to focus on one player,” Stallings said. “They have two post players, but one was out and that hurt them tonight. They are normally strong in the post. Our girls did a good job down there in the post.”
Bullitt East got points from ten different players. While Duvall was the only player in double-figures with her 26 points, the Lady Chargers also got eight points from freshman Raegan Williams and seven from freshman Alyssa Peak.
Stallings hopes to get some practice time early this week before the Lady Chargers take the court on Wednesday in the Girls’ Louisville Invitational Tournament at Bellarmine University. Bullitt East, the tournament’s fourth-seeded team, will play at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, probably against Manual.
At Mercy Academy
BULLITT EAST 63 (23-13-11-16) Emily Fryman 2, Courtney Pfister 5, Lindsey Duvall 26, Kaleigh Sharpe 2, Alyssa Peak 7, Kirstie Henn 2, Taylor Blain 4, Mackenzie Bass 5, Raegan Williams 8, Shelby Flener 2.
MERCY 38 (8-10-7-13) M. Schmitz 7, Woods 5, Hodge 2, Bewley 16, Barr 4, Anderson 2, Laemale 2.
Win at Marion
Before bad weather interrupted almost everything last week, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers managed to beat the snow that fell the previous day and made it to Lebanon to compete in an Autism event at Marion County High School.
In fact, the Lady Chargers took on the defending state champions and Stallings’ team pulled away late to beat the Lady Knights 69-55.
“We struggled a little bit in that game,” Stallings said a few days later. “It took us a while to get going. That’s a tough place to play. But, it was a great event. I appreciate being invited.”
Bullitt East only led 27-25 at halftime, but they moved ahead by six points heading into the final quarter and then pulled away by scoring 26 points in the final frame.
“We got contributions from a lot of kids,” Stallings said. “Our experience showed there in the end. It’s a tough place to play and win.”
Once more, freshman Lindsey Duvall led the way for the Lady Chargers with 23 points, but the red and gold also got ten points each from seniors Courtney Pfister and Taylor Blain as well as nine points from freshman Kirstie Henn coming off the bench.
At Marion County
BULLITT EAST 69 (17-10-16-26) Emily Fryman 2, Courtney Pfister 10, Lindsey Duvall 23, Alyssa Peak 2, Kirstie Henn 9, Taylor Blain 10, Mackenzie Bass 7, Raegan Williams 6.
MARION COUNTY 55 (14-11-12-18) Taylor 9, Howard 15, Rakes 1, Burton 5, Calhoun 15, Adams 7, Daugherty 3.