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Lady Chargers Fall to Butler

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 LOUISVILLE – Perhaps the Bullitt East Lady Chargers just shouldn’t play the third quarter in post-season games.

For the second straight game, the red and gold were badly outplayed coming out of the halftime break and they paid for it each time. On Tuesday, it was Butler that turned the game around with a 26-11 run that included four three-pointers.

From leading 26-23 at halftime, Bullitt East found themselves trailing the state’s third-ranked team 49-37 heading into the fourth quarter. Bullitt East rallied to tie the game, but Butler went on to claim a 68-58 victory.

Five days earlier, in the championship game of the 24th District Tournament, Mercy had connected on four three-pointers in the third quarter as they surged ahead of the Lady Chargers in the third quarter. While the red and gold did regain the lead on that night for a short period of time, they eventually lost the game.

Against Butler, Bullitt East battled back, scoring the first 12 points of the fourth quarter to pull even at 49-49 with 5:43 to play. Unfortunately, the Lady Chargers never got the lead. Butler scored the next seven points and, over the final four minutes of the contest, the red and gold never got closer than five points.

It really was a titanic struggle between two of the top programs in the state on Tuesday in the first-round of the Sixth Region Tournament.

Butler entered the game ranked third in the state and 42nd in the nation, while Bullitt East was ranked 13th in the state. It was just a bad draw, and the loss to Mercy, that pitted the two powerhouses against each other so early in the bracket.

This marked the fifth straight season that Butler ended Bullitt East’s season in the Sixth Region Tournament.

“Butler went to a diamond press there in the third quarter and it took us some time to get adjusted,” Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said. “That might have been the longest we’ve gone this season with a press bothering us.

“Then they hit the four three-pointers there,” the coach added. “We talked about that before we left the locker room. They had been missing those shots. Give them credit, those were big shots.”

Butler (26-3) opened the second half with a three-pointer from freshman Bre Torrens, but the Lady Chargers were still ahead 30-28 when Courtney Pfister hit one of two free throws.

After Sixth Region Player of the Year Danielle Lawrence connected on two free throws to tie the score, Stallings was forced to call a time-out at the 5:13 mark. Over the rest of the third quarter, Butler got 12 points from freshman Fontasia Jefferies, including a pair of three-pointers. When Jefferies scored the final six points of the quarter, the Bearettes were up 49-37.

Finally, Bullitt East turned up the pressure on defense at the start of the fourth quarter.

It worked.

The Lady Chargers would score 12 straight points in just over two minutes to tie the game at 49-49. Senior Emily Fryman got the first basket in the surge before freshman Lindsey Duvall scored 10 straight points.

The Bullitt East defense was so suffocating that during one 14-second run, Butler head coach Larry Just used three time-outs.

After Duvall tied the game at the 5:43 mark, Bullitt East would go over three minutes without scoring. Butler answered with two free throws from freshman Jaelynn Penn and, then at the 4:55 mark, Allison Just nailed a three-pointer that gave the momentum back to the Bearettes.

When Fryman drove to the basket and scored at the 1:16 mark, Bullitt East used its final time-out down 59-53. The Lady Chargers forced a five-second call on the inbounds play, but then Duvall missed a shot and a jump ball on the rebound went to Butler. The Bearettes then hit nine of 10 free throw chances in the final 1:02 to seal the win.

“I’m very proud of our team,” Stallings said. “We went on a run of our own when we were down. That showed a lot of heart.

“We have competed all year in our games and tonight was no different. I was proud of them for not getting down on themselves and then coming back.”

While the effort was big, Bullitt East could not overcome 25 turnovers and missing 11 free throws. The Lady Chargers were 13 of 24 at the foul line while Butler was 26 of 34.

In the fourth quarter, Butler had just two baskets, but won the game by making 14 of 17 at the charity stripe.

“Free throws were big,” Stallings lamented. “You have to step to the line and knock those down in a big game.”

Bullitt East (22-9) found out they would play Butler on Saturday and the Lady Chargers practiced on both Saturday and Sunday. The game was originally scheduled for Monday, but snow on Monday morning moved the game back a day. Both Bullitt and Jefferson County schools were out on both Monday and Tuesday, but the games were allowed to be played on Tuesday.

Bullitt East did not get in the gym on Monday, but they did have a walk-through on Tuesday before the game that night.

“Our kids came in and prepped well for this game,” Stallings said. “Our game plan was sound. We did execute exactly what we wanted to get done. You want to do that.”

Duvall led all scorers in the game with 29 points while Fryman closed out her Bullitt East career with 11 points.

Butler had more balanced scoring as Lawrence and Jefferies each collected 14 points. The Bearettes also got 11 points each from Penn and Just.

 

Girls’ Sixth

Region Tournament

At Butler HS

First-Round

BULLITT EAST 58 (11-15-11-21) Emily Fryman 11, Courtney Pfister 5, Lindsey Duvall 29, Alyssa Peak 2, Kirstie Henn 2, Taylor Blain 5, Mackenzie Bass 2, Raegan Williams 2.

BUTLER 68 (11-12-26-19) Bre Torrens 6, Fontasia Jefferies 14, Danielle Lawrence 14, Jaelynn Penn 11, Madison Winebrenner 2, Miah asey 5, Janna Lewis 5, Allison Just 11.