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LOUISVILLE - When you compete in one of the nation’s top-10 high school basketball tournaments, 30-point victories in the second round are few and far between.
But that is just what the Bullitt East Chargers did on Monday night, rolling past 22nd-ranked Bardstown 68-37 in the quarter-finals of the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Tournament at Fairdale High School. Just three nights earlier, the Tigers had stunned 7th-ranked Moore 74-69 by converting 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
On Monday, Bullitt East never let the game get to the fourth quarter. The red and gold raced out to a 14-3 lead in the first quarter before leading 31-15 at halftime. In the second half the lead grew to as many as 36 points at 59-23 before the Chargers coasted to the impressive win.
Bullitt East and Bardstown had met in the first-round of last year’s state tournament, a game that the Chargers won 53-44. The Chargers have three starters back from that game while Bardstown has just two.
Because of that, Bullitt East head coach Troy Barr said that he didn’t talk much about last year’s meeting.
“We didn’t talk a lot about last year,” the veteran Charger coach said. “They are a different team and we are a different team.
“Our number one goal was to shut down (senior Anthony) Myrks,” Barr added. “Between the defense of Trey Rakes when we were in our man defense and our zone defense, we held him to zero (points). We wanted to keep him from driving to the goal and when he did do that, our bigs were there to challenge him.
“When you take the engine out of the car,” Barr said with a smile, “then the rest of the car struggles. He had 30 the other night (against Moore) and tonight zero. That says a lot about our defense.”
For the game, Bardstown shot just 27.7 percent from the floor including a 25 percent mark in the first half. The five Bardstown starters combined to score just 20 points.
Bullitt East was on cruise control most of the night. The Chargers shot 52 percent in the first half and ended the game at 47.3 percent.
Playing once more in front of University of Louisville head coach Rick Pitino, Charger standout Derek Willis made six of his nine shots from the field as he led all scorers in the game with 15 points. Willis also had nine rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
Bullitt East also got 13 points from Rusty Troutman as well as 12 from Kory Caufield and 11 by Elliot Young. Caufield was named the Player of the Game.
The win moved Bullitt East into Tuesday’s night’s semi-finals against Butler after the Bears knocked off Fairdale 59-51. The BE-Butler game was a rematch of a contest played two weeks ago at Butler that the Chargers won 60-50.
King of the Bluegrass Holiday Tournament At Fairdale HS
BARDSTOWN 37 (3-12-8-14) Marcus Cosby 10, Devonte Grundy 7, Jordan Brewer 3, Brandon Coulter 7, Cody Ramos 2, Drew Starks 8.
BULLITT EAST 68 (14-17-26-11) Luke Francke 5, Trey Rakes 4, Rusty Troutman 13, Rhett Troutman 4, Derek Jones 2, Kory Caufield 12, Elliot Young 11, Derek Willis 15.