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East puts on a show in final

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2012 24th District Basketball Tourney

By Mike Farner

    MOUNT WASHINGTON - Finding a spark and energy that had been missing the last month of the regular season, the Bullitt East Chargers put on a show to remember Friday in the championship game of the 24th District Tournament.
    Battling Jeffersontown, the eighth-ranked team in the state, the fifth-ranked Chargers took over the game in the opening moments and then never let the foot off the accelerator as they picked up a 68-47 victory that wasn't even as close as the final score would indicate.
    The win was important as it makes the draw in a loaded Sixth Region Tournament this week somewhat easier for the Chargers. Bullitt East can now not face Pleasure Ridge Park or Moore, two other teams ranked among the top five in the state, until at least the semi-finals while either of those teams could have to face Jeffersontown in a first-round game on Tuesday.
    Bullitt East bolted out to a 14-4 lead in the first quarter and then stretched that to 27-4 midway through the second quarter. By that time, Jeffersontown head coach xxx xxxxx had used three time-outs, but there was nothing he could do against the red wave.
    In the second half, the lead swelled to as many as 28 points.
    "We were fortunate in that we were able to prepare for them for the past week," Bullitt East head coach Troy Barr said. "They only had one day to prepare for us (after beating Fern Creek in an intense district semi-final game).
    "They also had a couple of injuries," the coach added. "But we have injuries as well. I don't feel sorry for anyone at this point."
    Back on Jan. 6, Bullitt East had defeated the 'other' Chargers 68-57. In that game, the red and gold had started out in a man-to-man defense, but quickly fell behind 17-3. After a switch to a zone defense, Barr's team rallied for the win.
    This time there was no fooling around. Bullitt East started in the zone and Jeffersontown had no answer.
    This is a different Jeffersontown team than the one that Bullitt East faced in January as 6-5 Daniel Ross, who will be playing football at the University of Kentucky next season, did not play in either tournament game. That left the visiting Chargers with no starter over 6-3.
    "Tonight we started in the zone and we were really active and that gave them trouble," Barr noted. "They put more shooters on the floor (without Ross). Our guys just did a great job. We can be aggressive out there with Derek (Willis) inside to block shots."
    Bullitt East also benefited greatly from the return of 6-5 Rusty Troutman who had missed the semi-finals two nights earlier with a stomach virus. He returned to scored 20 points along with grabbing ten rebounds.
    "I feel 100 percent better," the junior said after taking his turn at cutting down the net. "It was terrible (having to listen to the win over Whitefield Academy on the radio). I wanted to be out here. I tweeted Matt (radio announcer Matt Casey) then and said I wasn't going to miss this game."
    Troutman connected on three of his five three-pointers in the game during the early 27-4 surge.
    "We were ready to play," Troutman said. "We came out and made shots and we fed off of that.
    "We knew they didn't have a post presence," the junior added. "We wanted to get it inside to Derek and play our game."
    Willis, who struggled with his shooting two nights earlier, making just one shot, missed his first couple of efforts on Friday, but then hit a runner in the lane just before the end of the first quarter and that seemed to break the ice. Willis finished with 15 points including a pair of three-pointers while also collecting ten rebounds and blocking four shots.
    It was announced earlier in the day that Willis had been selected as the Co-Player of the Year in the Sixth Region along with Moore's Mekale McKay. Troutman was the number three player in that balloting.
    "He's just a great player," Barr said of the 6-9 Willis. "You just tell him to keep shooting it. Every good player has an off night. He came back. No worries there."
    The game was played in front of a nearly packed house and was the 25th straight win at home for the Chargers.
    "I tried to tell the guys it was special at home and to be the first one in a new district," Barr said of winning a district title at home. "You need that crowd. Twenty-five at home is also special."
    Moe Hendricks was the only Jeffersontown starter in double figures as he finished with 11 points. Bullitt East held All-Sixth Region performer Desmond Dorsey to just four points.
    Bullitt East did lose sophomore substitute Ezra Troutman. He was the first player off the bench for the Chargers and he made his first shot, but came down awkwardly and suffered a severely sprained ankle.
    After the trophy presentation for the teams, Bullitt East's Willis and Troutman, along with Kory Caufield, were named to the All-Tournament team. The trio were joined on the honor team by Jeffersontown's Hendricks and DeMichael Jackson along with Jamie Carr of Fern Creek and Ryan Ramey of Whitefield Academy.
Boys' 24th District
Championship Game
At Bullitt East
    JEFFERSONTOWN 47 (4-8-13-22)
Jackson 8, Dorsey 4, Holt 3, Hendricks 11, Williams 3, Marshall 6, Minor 7, Haskins 3, Yearby 2.
    BULLITT EAST 68 (14-18-16-20) Luke Francke 4, Trey Rakes 8, Rusty Troutman 20, Derek Jones 2, Kory Caufield 10, Tyler Sharpe 3, Chris Embry 4, Derek Willis 15, Ezra Troutman 2.