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Fairdale stuns Lady Cougars; North battles East to the end

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By The Staff

HEBRON ESTATES - There was nothing but heartbreak for the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars on Wednesday as their dream season came to a premature end when they were upset by Fairdale by a 62-58 count in the semi-finals of the 24th District Tournament which was being played at North Bullitt.

The Lady Cougars had beaten Fairdale twice during the regular season, although, both games were decided by less than nine points.

On Wednesday, Bullitt Central played an almost perfect first half, but led only 36-28 at halftime. Fairdale then clamped down on defense, holding the maroon and gray to eight points in the third quarter as they pulled even at 44-44 heading into the final frame.

The game was still tied at 53-53 before Fairdale scored five straight points. It was a lead they would not relinquish down the stretch.

Bullitt Central just could not stop Fairdale’s one-two punch of senior Kayla Thompson and junior Wenisha Mack. The pair combined to score 47 of the Lady Bulldogs’ 62 points. In fact, the pair scored 28 of Fairdale’s 34 points in the second half.

“They made a lot of good shots in the second half,” Bullitt Central head coach Bryan Bates said after a very long meeting with his team in the dressing room after the game. “They hit the threes. They were tough tonight.”

Mack finished with 26 points while Thompson collected 21 points.

Bullitt Central answered with 27 points from senior Lindsay Hester. The number two career scorer in Lady Cougar history had five three-pointers. The team also got 17 points from junior Qualeatha Bennett but no other player for Bullitt Central managed more than six points.

After the nearly perfect first half, Bullitt Central scored just eight points in the third quarter. Fairdale didn’t really change their defense, but they just played it better.

“They played that 1-3-1 and it gave us problems in the second half,” Bates said. “We practiced against it. We didn’t make some plays and had some turnovers and they made some really nice plays.”

Fairdale trailed 23-9 after the first quarter and it was 36-28 at halftime. The Lady Bulldogs actually pulled ahead for the first time on back-to-back three-pointers by Mack and Thompson in the closing moments of the third quarter. Only a three-pointer by Bullitt Central’s Keoka Hilliard tied the game at 44-44 heading into the final frame.

Bullitt Central then took the lead back when Hester nailed a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter. Thompson then scored five straight points for Fairdale, but Bullitt Central answered with a basket by Bennett and then two hoops by Hester to go up 53-49. A free throw and then another three-pointer by Thompson tied the game at 53-53 with two minutes to play.

At 1:41 Thompson hit two free throws and Hester was not able to convert at the other end. In the rush to get back on defense, Bullitt Central lost track of Mack who got open and drained a three-pointer at 1:12.

Bullitt Central’s last gasp came when Hester converted a three point play when she drove the baseline and hit a reverse lay-up. After the free throw, the Lady Cougars pressed and Fairdale got the ball up court and to Jreyanna Warfield for a lay-up.

The last points for Bullitt Central came at :34.8 when Logan Wood hit a jumper that cut he lead back to 60-58.

Again, Fairdale was able to beat the press. Thompson missed the first shot, but Warfield was there for the rebound and she scored.

The Lady Bulldogs stole the inbounds pass but then there was a jump ball that went to Bullitt Central. Hester missed a three and despite Mack missing a free throw, the Lady Cougars could not score again.

“I just made some awful coaching decisions in the second half,” Bates said. “Give Fairdale credit. They played well. They got down and came back.”

Girls’ 24th District Tournament

Semi-finals

At North Bullitt

FAIRDALE 62 (9-19-16-18) Wenisha Mack 26, Lakrista Toogood 6, Kayla Thompson 21, Nahkarra Gaines 4, Jreyanna Warfield 5.

BULLITT CENTRAL 58 (23-13-8-14) Lindsay Hester 27, Keoka Hilliard 6, Logan Wood 2, Qualeatha Bennett 17, Valerie Terry 3, Seaera Minyard 3.

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Lady Chargers Survive

It’s not often that a team can shoot just 22 percent from the field and win a post-season game.

The Bullitt East Lady Chargers managed to pull that off on Wednesday as they survived a scare from North Bullitt to advance to Friday’s championship game with a 44-34 victory.

Bullitt East had beaten North Bullitt twice during the regular season by lopsided scores.

That was not the case this time as the Lady Eagles were within four points in the final three minutes of the game.

Bullitt East led 34-23 entering the final frame, but with 3:29 to play, North Bullitt senior Christina Dilley converted a three-point play that pulled her team with 36-32. The two rivals then exchanged free throws before both teams struggled to generate any offense down the stretch.

Breanne Kuffner’s free throw at 3:02 had made it 37-33 but then neither team scored until Bullitt East’s Jessica Philpott converted two free throws at 1:21. Those were the only points until just 30 seconds remained when North Bullitt’s Hunter Roeder converted one free throw.

In the final 20 seconds, Bullitt East got two free throws each from Kayla Thacker and Shelby Romine to secure the win.

“I felt like in the first half we had good tempo and defensively we did good things,” Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said later. “We just missed some shots. It wasn’t the wrong people taking those shots. They just didn’t fall. North kept us off the boards well.”

North Bullitt head coach Bill Robinette could not have been more proud of his team and the effort they put forth. The Lady Eagles had lost 12 of the 14 games heading into the post-season.

“We have nothing to complain about,” the veteran coach said. “Our kids played hard. We have nothing to be upset about. We lost to a very good basketball team. Everybody played hard. I felt like we competed.”

The one complaint that the Lady Eagles could make was that they converted only 12 of 28 chances at the foul line including a seven of 17 mark in the fourth quarter.

Bullitt East wasn’t much better overall, making 16 of 29 chances. The Lady Chargers did made 10 of 14 in the final frame.

Thacker led Bullitt East with 16 points and the Lady Chargers also got nine points from Romine.

North Bullitt was led by Kuffner with 11 points while Dilley closed with nine points and Ashley Goeing had eight points.

Girls’ 24th District Tournament

Semi-finals

At North Bullitt

NORTH BULLITT 34 (5-10-8-11) Breanne Kuffner 11, Hunter Roeder 1, Holly White 2, Ashley Goeing 8, Christina Dilley 9, Chelsea Hoke 3.

BULLITT EAST 44 (15-12-7-10) Jaime Simpson 3, Jessica Philpott 5, Nikole Isabel 3, Shelby Romine 9, Jade Troutman 2, Kayla Thacker 16, Meredith Polson 2, Lindey Young 4.