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LOUISVILLE - The Bullitt East Lady Chargers took care business on Tuesday, rolling to an easy win in the first round of the Girls’ 6th Region Tournament at Atherton High School.
The red and gold were heavy favorites and had little trouble turning back defending state champion Iroquois by a 57-31 score. Bullitt East was up 33-9 at halftime and was never challenged.
“I really liked our focus and the way we competed and the way we finished,” Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said after the game. “We had good focus for this game.
“We shot it extremely well the first time we played them, so I thought it might be a little tougher,” the coach said. “Tonight we played a little better defensively on them.”
The win moved the Lady Chargers into Thursday night’s semi-finals where they will take on Holy Cross, a 78-54 victor over Presentation in the first game on Tuesday. That game will be played at Bellarmine along with Saturday night’s championship game at 7 p.m.
Iroquois had ended Bullitt East’s season three straight years in the Sixth Region Tournament before this game. This marks the second straight season in which the red and gold have won their opening game of the tournament.
Bullitt East (26-3) had beaten Iroquois 77-38 back on Jan. 5 in Mount Washington. As in that first meeting, the Lady Raiders dressed just seven players.
In the first quarter on Tuesday, Bullitt East connected on four three-pointers including two from senior Jade Troutman. The Lady Chargers then turned up the defensive pressure and forced a bevy of turnovers that led to easy baskets.
Iroquois (7-18) turned the ball over 17 times in the first half when Bullitt East was applying defensive pressure. When the Lady Chargers dropped back in their defensive alignment in the second half, the Lady Raiders only turned the ball over five times.
Those four three pointers in the first quarter where the only long shots the Lady Chargers made in the game. They only attempted one three-pointer in the second half.
For the game, Bullitt East shot just 36 percent from the field, but did convert 70 percent at the free throw line.
Iroquois actually took more shots than Bullitt East in the game. Still, the Lady Raiders converted just 17 percent of those shots.
Stallings said that his team pretty much just stayed in their regular defense and did nothing special to stop Iroquois.
“We just played,” the coach pointed out. “We did our stuff. We might have played a little more zone than we had planned or that we’ll need on Thursday. That’s just us trying to save energy.”
The coach was not worried about falling into any bad habits.
“At this time of year that is not a worry,” Stallings said. “They know what is at stake.”
All 12 Bullitt East players scored in this game. Kayla Thacker led the way with 13 points while Troutman finished with 10. Jackie Stevens came off the bench to grab eight rebounds in just 12 minutes of play.
Iroquois got nine points from Stephanie Malone, but that was 12 points below her average.
Girls’ Sixth Region Tourney at Atherton H.S.
BULLITT EAST 57 (19-14-11-13) Taylor Price 2, Jessica Philpott 2, Ashley Duvall 2, Nikole Isabel 5, Whitney Stansbury 4, Shelby Romine 5, Jade Troutman 10, Kayla Thacker 13, Meredith Polson 2, Lindey Young 6, Jackie Stevens 2, Samantha Johnson 4.
IROQUOIS 31 (5-4-12-10) Brittanie Glasser 7, Mylasha Taylor 1, Aeshia Kindle 4, Stephanie Malone 9, Victoria Brown 5, Carmen Talbott 5.