Here we go again, another roller-coaster season set

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2009-10 Hoops Season Preview

By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - Here we go again!

Another basketball season is upon and I can only assure you of one thing - the only thing you can count on is the unexpected. That is why we all love high school sports.

That’s not to say that the obvious won’t remain that way. The Bullitt East Lady Chargers are the team to beat, not only in the county, but also in the 24th District as well as the Sixth Region.

The Lady Chargers were ranked 10th in the annual state-wide coaches’ poll. It was somewhat of a surprise that Butler was voted the top team in the Sixth Region by the coaches with Bullitt East second while overall, coach Chris Stallings’ team was 10th in the state and Butler only 24th.

All that opinion will go out the window next Tuesday when Bullitt East travels into Louisville to take on the Bearettes, the 2008 state champions.

The fact that Bullitt East will be an elite team this season is not a question.

Unfortunately, the North Bullitt and Bullitt Central boys, as well as the North Bullitt girls, all have some questions that need to be answered. Each team is young, and in the case of the Eagles and Cougars, they are incredibly undersized this season.

I find it amazing that two schools each with roughly 1,300 students can find only one varsity basketball player between them over 6-1. That defies all odds. Bullitt East has nine players at 6-1 or taller.

Overall, anything near a .500 season for those three teams would be considered a job well done.

The two more intriguing squads this winter should be the Bullitt East boys and the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars. Both teams have a relatively high ceiling and both teams should certainly be better in February than they are now. Each of those squads came up short in district play last year so they have something to motivate them now.

Coach Troy Barr’s Bullitt East team is putting a lot of stock on four incoming freshmen, a group that the coach as already called the best he has seen at the school in the 24 years that he has been associated with the program, going back to the days when he was a player.

Still, they are just freshmen.

“That said, it’s a big jump for kids to go from middle school to freshmen basketball,” Barr said. “It’s a huge jump to go from middle school to varsity.

“On some nights they will help us on the varsity,” the coach said. “Other nights they won’t help us. They are what they are. We need to be patient.”

At Bullitt Central, the Lady Cougars have had a couple of bumps in the road since the start of the school year. Considered a Sixth Region contender over the summer, the maroon and gray now have a lot of question marks.

Still, coach Bryan Bates has impressive depth on this year’s team and if they find a couple of consistent scorers they could challenge be in that group of teams just behind Bullitt East and Butler in the Sixth Region.

We’ll find out a lot more about the Lady Cougars this Friday when they play host to Bullitt East.

Biggest Changes

The biggest change to the local basketball landscape this season is that the district seedings will be based on just a single meeting between each of the five schools this winter.

Southern and Fairdale didn’t want to continue the home-and-home series with the Bullitt County schools. So, those two will play the three Bullitt County teams just once and that game will count in the seedings.

The three Bullitt County teams will continue to play each other twice during the season. This time around, only the second meeting will count in the district seedings.

The second big change is that both of the Bullitt East programs are eligible to play in the Louisville Invitational Tournament when those events come around in January. The two Charger programs will be treated just like any other Jefferson County team.

Both North Bullitt and Bullitt Central opted not to take part in the LIT at this time. They have scheduled other games during those weeks.