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MOUNT WASHINGTON - After a slow start to the season fueled by inexperience, youthfulness and even illness, the Bullitt East Lady Chargers seem to rounding into the form that had them ranked among the top-25 teams in the state before the season began.
The best performance yet this season came on Tuesday when the Lady Chargers scored 50 points in the two middle quarters at home and turned back traditional Seventh Region power Christian Academy 67-50. It was the first loss in four games for the Lady Centurions.
“It was a nice win for our program and this group of girls,” veteran Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said later in the week. “We played well. We got out and then limited them in transition. This was the first game this season we’ve played where we had a definite inside/outside game.”
Bullitt East got its normal strong inside effort from senior Lindey Young and Meredith Polson. Young finished with a team-high 17 points while Polson collected 12 points.
The big difference came on the outside as Bullitt East connected on nine three-pointers (ten total) with five coming off the bench from junior Nikole Isabel and four from freshman Taylor Blain. Isabel finished with 15 points while Blain had a season-high 14 points.
It didn’t really look like Bullitt East would have such a strong outing. Christian Academy jumped out to a 15-7 lead in the first quarter. That didn’t last long as the Lady Chargers caught fire from the perimeter, going on a 25-7 tear in the second quarter to take control of the game for good.
Bullitt East scored 25 points again in the third quarter and they had a 27-point lead early in the fourth frame before coasting to the win.
“In the second quarter we started limiting their shots with our defense,” Stallings said. “We held them to one shot and then we started hitting with five three-pointers in that quarter.”
China Dow, one of the top players in the state in the sophomore class, led Christian Academy with 19 points.
This game was originally scheduled for Christian Academy but was switched to Mount Washington less than a week before. The Lady Centurions won the Seventh Region title two years ago and had one of the state’s top teams last season before losing Antonita Slaughter to the University of Louisville.
“They were in about the same situation we are in, in terms of experience,” Stallings said of replacing some top players from a year ago. “It was a nice win going into Christmas. Hopefully that will give us some momentum.”
Bullitt East started play in the Berea Holiday Classic on Saturday with a 4-2 record. The Lady Chargers will play four games in that event before returning home on Tuesday.
At Bullitt East
CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 50 (15-7-15-13) Wilder 6, Helm 4, Joss 6, Gardner 6, Shaheen 5, Woosley 4, Dow 19.
BULLITT EAST 67 (7-25-25-10) Ashley Duvall 7, Nikole Isabel 15, Carly Coulter 2, Taylor Blain 14, Meredith Polson 12, Lindey Young 17.
For the first time this season, the Bullitt East Chargers needed to grind out a win instead of flashing their offensive prowess when they went on the road Tuesday to take on former Eighth Region rival Oldham County.
The final outcome was not pretty, but it was a win as the red and gold survived to win 45-41. It was the first time in six games that the Chargers did not win by a double-digit margin.
Bullitt East trailed by a point late in the first half before scoring four straight points to go up 24-21 at halftime. The Chargers then pushed the lead to 33-23 midway through the third quarter before sputtering on offense.
Down the stretch, Bullitt East did convert at the free throw line as senior Hayden Sweat scored four of the team’s final eight points at the line including a pair of free throws at :19 that accounted for the final score.
All 45 of the Bullitt East points came from the five starters. Senior Corey Washburn collected 16 points while Sweat finished with nine and Derek Willis with eight.
Bullitt East moved to 6-0 with the win heading into the King of the Bluegrass Tournament at Fairdale High School. The Chargers’ first game was moved back to Sunday because of bad weather and they will play again on Monday in that event.
At Oldham County
BULLITT EAST 45 (6-18-11-10) Trey Rakes 4, Rusty Troutman 8, Derek Willis 8, Corey Washburn 18, Hayden Sweat 9.
OLDHAM COUNTY 41 (8-13-11-9) Simpson 5, Payne 4, Smith 6, Henderson 13, Wesley 11, Gruber 2.