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First round showdown goes to East late 59-46

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2013 Girls’ Sixth Region Tournament

By Mike Farner

  LOUISVILLE – No matter when it is played or where it is contested, a Bullitt East-North Bullitt hoops contest is going to be a war.

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That was certainly the case on Monday as the two long-time rivals clashed at Bellarmine University’s Knights Hall in an opening round game of the 2013 Class Act Girls’ 6th Region Tournament.

When the dust had finally settled, Bullitt East had repulsed a strong late rally by North Bullitt to claim a 59-46 victory and advance to Friday’s semi-finals where the Lady Chargers will clash with Butler for the third time this season.

Bullitt East had a 28-18 lead at halftime and it was 38-22 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter. But North Bullitt would not go quietly into the night. The Lady Eagles found some late offensive punch and the green and gold pulled within 41-35 when freshman Katie Downey nailed a three-pointer with five minutes remaining in the game.

But North Bullitt could get no closer. Bullitt East scored 11 of the next 12 points to put the game out of reach.

Bullitt East (24-7) had beaten North Bullitt 68-38 just three weeks earlier, but Lady Charger head coach Chris Stallings knew that it would not be as easy the second time around.

“After we played them the first time, I knew that game was more the exception to the rule,” Stallings said of what was an easy victory then. “This is what we’re used to seeing against North, both emotionally and physically. This is the way games are played with North, as well as Bullitt Central.

“We expected nothing less than what we got,” the veteran coach added.

This game was certainly physical. The two teams combined for 54 fouls and the game had 69 foul shots.

This was the second straight season that North Bullitt’s season has ended in the regional tournament with a loss to Bullitt East. The Lady Eagles have not been rewarded for winning the district title as they have now twice drawn the best of the district runners-up in the first-round of regional play.

“I’m disappointed in the loss, but not the way the kids played,” North Bullitt head coach Amber Courtney said after she emerged from talking with her team. “They left it on the floor. There were a couple of mistakes and some missed shots that if they had gone the other way the outcome might have been different.”

Despite the lopsided loss on Feb. 8, Courtney felt her team was ready for the rematch.

“I’ve never had a problem with confidence with this group,” the coach said. “They knew they hadn’t played well three weeks ago. We couldn’t play any worse than we did then.”

The game really turned in the second quarter. North Bullitt led all of the first quarter until Bullitt East scored the final six points to take a 9-8 lead. The Lady Eagles were still up 12-11 when Bullitt East’s full-court press began forcing numerous turnovers that the red and gold turned into easy baskets.

In a 90-second span midway through the quarter, Bullitt East scored eight straight points with four points each coming from Lindsey Duvall and Courtney Pfister. Lady Charger point guard Emily Fryman, who just a few days earlier had been named to the All-Sixth Region team, had two early fouls and went to the bench, but her replacement, eighth-grader Alyssa Peak, picked up the slack with four straight points during one stretch.

Peak then gave Bullitt East a big boost at the end of the half. The guard took an inbounds pass at :06.8 and drove the length of the floor. Just before going to the basket, Peak passed the ball out to Taylor Williamson on the wing. The senior nailed the three-pointer to put the red and gold on top 28-18.

“That is two bench players there contributing and getting it to drop was big,” Stallings said of Williamson’s shot. “We just wanted to get a look. Peak attacked. That was a good look and we knocked it down.”

North Bullitt just could not get through the Bullitt East press in the second quarter.

“It was the second quarter when they really got after us,” Courtney said. “It wasn’t upset with that for most of the game, but it was a killer there in the second quarter for us.”

Bullitt East seemingly was going to coast to the win when Duvall’s three-pointer with two minutes left in the third quarter put the Lady Chargers ahead 38-22. However, the Lady Chargers started missing free throws and that opened the door for North Bullitt to make a charge.

North Bullitt started the fourth quarter with a 6-2 run with all six of the points coming at the foul line. Then, at the 5:02 mark, Downey drained the first of just two three-pointers that the Lady Eagles would convert to pull the green and gold within 41-35.

“Momentum was on our side,” Courtney said of that point in the game. In the quickness there a few fouls were called and that slowed the pace. Then they made some free throws and we couldn’t get the momentum back.”

In the 11-1 run that sealed the outcome, Bullitt East scored seven of those points at the foul line. The only two baskets came from Duvall.

Bullitt East struggled at the foul line, making just 21 of their 39 chances. North Bullitt was 20 of 30 at the foul line.

The most telling statistic of the game was that Bullitt East had a 42-9 scoring advantage off the bench. The Lady Chargers used 12 players while Courtney stuck with eight.

“We’ve pretty much been going eight or nine deep all year,” Courtney said.

Savannah Morrison paced North Bullitt with 20 points, but 13 of those came at the foul line. No other Lady Eagles scored more than six points. The Lady Eagles did get seven rebounds each from Rachel Badgett, Caitlin Montgomery and Morrison.

Bullitt East’s top scorers all came off the bench. Duvall led all scorers in the game with 23 while Williamson collected nine points. Peak finished with seven points and four assists. Both Pfister and Blain collected seven points.

The Lady Chargers had a 36-33 rebounding edge as both Mackenzie Bass and Kylee Willis had seven rebounds.

North Bullitt’s season ended with a 20-12 record. The senior group recorded the first two 20-win seasons in the program’s history as well as being the first to claim consecutive district titles. 

 

Girls’ Sixth Region Basketball Tourney at Bellarmine University

First Round

BULLITT EAST 59 (9-19-11-20) Emily Fryman 1, Courtney Pfister 7, Lindsay Duvall 23, Alyssa Peak 7, Cady Cornell 2, Taylor Williamson 9, Taylor Blain 7, Mackenzie Bass 3.

NORTH BULLITT 46 (8-10-8-20) Rachel Badgett 4, Maria George 2, Erin Dolan 2, Katie Downey 5, Savannah Morrison 20, Caitlin Montgomery 7, Kasey McCoy 6.