Lady Chargers put the clamps on NB's offense

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By Mike Farner

HEBRON ESTATES - Defense was the name of the game on Friday for the Bullitt East Lady Chargers as they made an unplanned trip to North Bullitt and beat the Lady Eagles 56-16.

The contest was supposed to be played in Mount Washington and be homecoming for the Lady Chargers. Instead, work on some damage to the roof of the Bullitt East gym forced a quick move to North Bullitt. The move was not known until Friday morning.

That didn’t seem to bother coach Chris Stallings’ team. Bullitt East was up 13-1 after one quarter and were never challenged.

For North Bullitt, the outcome just highlighted what has been an offensively challenged season for the green and gold. The final 16 point total is perhaps the lowest total ever for the program and certainly is the lowest in the nine years that Bill Robinette has been the head coach. Unfortunately, the second-lowest point total came earlier in the season when the Lady Eagles managed just 20 points against Fairdale.

The messed up plans for the day didn’t seem to bother Bullitt East, but Stallings was glad that this was one night where the boys’ game was played first and then the girls took the court.

“I’ll be honest. I’m glad we played second,” Stallings said after the game. “We came in around 5 p.m. and watched some tape and that gave us time to get focused. That showed.

“Obviously, a lot of good things happened to us. We earned a lot of good things,” the veteran coach added. “Not a lot of good things happened for North. I’ve been in that situation.”

A month ago, Bullitt East beat the Lady Eagles 71-43 on the same court.

Bullitt East scored the first 11 points of the game before Robinette called a time-out with 3:15 remaining in the first quarter. By the first stop, the Lady Chargers were up 13-1.

As it turned out, North Bullitt did not score a basket in the first half. All six of the team’s points came at the free throw line as Chelsea Hoke made four free throws and Breanne Kuffner had two. Even at that, the green and gold made only six of 15 free throws in the first half.

So, with no pressure, Bullitt East just kept charging forward. Junior Kayla Thacker, who scored all 11 of her points in the first half, opened the second quarter with a three-pointer. By the time halftime rolled around, Bullitt East was on top 29-6.

North Bullitt’s first basket from the floor didn’t occur until 1:32 remained in the third quarter when Hoke connected on a three-pointer. The Lady Eagles’ only other basket came with the final points of the game when Savannah Morrison hit a jumper from near the free throw line.

North Bullitt played this game without senior Christina Dilley and junior Mecenzie Ellis who are both out with injuries. Ellis will probably not play the rest of the season while it is hoped that Dilley will be back for the post-season from a sprained ankle.

Bullitt East (20-6) got everyone in the game for extended playing time. In fact, 11 different players scored for the red and gold.

Thacker led the way with 11 points as she played almost no time in the second half. The Lady Chargers also got 10 points from Jessica Philpott off the bench as well as nine points from Jaime Simpson.  

“We wanted to set the tempo,” Stallings said of the game plan. “I don’t know if we did that the first time we played. This time we were able to do that. We were able to change our presses and that bothered them.”

The two teams could very well meet again next week in the semi-finals of the 24th District Tournament. Bullitt East will take on the winner of the North Bullitt-Southern game in one of the semi-finals.

That news didn’t affect the way that Stallings approached this game.

“We just played  and we tried to get better,” the coach said. “We did some things that carried over from practice. We were pretty intense for four quarters. We executed on offense and that led to good things.”

North Bullitt (6-17) got seven points from Hoke and five from Kuffner.

Both teams will now close out the regular season this week.

North Bullitt has a busy schedule as they played Central and defending state champion Butler earlier this week. The team will close out the regular season on Thursday at Kentucky Country Day.

Bullitt East has just one game this week and that will come on Friday when they play host to Sacred Heart.

At North Bullitt

BULLITT EAST 56 (13-16-14-13) Jaime Simpson 9, Jessica Philpott 10, Nikole Isabel 3, Whitney Stansbury 2, Shelby Romine 6, Jade Troutman 4, Kayla Thacker 11, Meredith Polson 3, Lindey Young 4, Kelly Cunningham 1, Jackie Stevens 3.

NORTH BULLITT 16 (1-5-5-5) Breanne Kuffner 5, Savannah Morrison 2, Chelsea Hoke 7, Carleigh Fell 2.