SHEPHERDSVILLE – Rallying from 18 points down in the final six minutes of the game, the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars forced overtime and then beat visiting Holy Cross on Friday in a stunning turn of events for the maroon and gray.
Bullitt Central was down 54-36 with under six minutes remaining in the game before going on a 20-2 run to tie the game at 56-56 at the end of regulation. The final points came on a three-pointer by sophomore Lexi Graham with just four seconds remaining on the clock.
In the overtime, Shelby Ross drained a three-pointer to open the scoring and the Lady Cougars never trailed again, pulling out a 62-59 victory.
“That’s a good win for us,” Bullitt Central head coach Kyle Roach said after celebrating with his team. “To miss so many days (of school) and then get out with the win was a challenge.
“We had two good practices this week,” the coach added. “Holy Cross is a good team. We came back and the girls showed some fight. They have needed to learn to fight through adversity. I was proud. We had a lot of different players step up.”
It had been tough sledding for the Lady Cougars since the turn into 2014. Roach’s team had lost seven of nine games before getting a big win at Spencer County. Then there was no school last week, but the team was able to take the court on Friday night and got a big boost.
“We did a great job,” Roach said. “We didn’t realize the foul trouble they were in. (Josie) Hockman fouled out and then we worked to get after them. They got tired and made some turnovers.”
Holy Cross (10-10) had both Hockman and fellow senior Hayley Lockwood foul out in the final 40 seconds of regulation. Still, over the final ten minutes of game time, the visiting Lady Cougars connected on just two free throws and then a three-pointer at the buzzer when the game was already out of reach.
Bullitt Central (11-11) got hot at just the right time. After Graham had the two baskets to pull her team within 54-40, Holy Cross hit one free throw. Over the next three minutes, the home team got a pair of three-pointers from sophomore Belle Leonard and another from Ross and with a free throws from Stephanie Still, Bullitt Central was within 55-50 with 1:16 to play.
On a nifty out of bounds play, the Lady Cougars got the ball inside to Still and her basket at :43 made it even closer. Graham then made a steal on the press and was fouled by Hockman. Graham hit one of the two free throws before Roach used his final time-out at 36.7. Bullitt Central then had to commit two fouls to put Holy Cross in the bonus, something they did at :30. Olivia Morbito hit the first of the two shots, but the rebound went out of bounds to Holy Cross. However, on the inbounds play, Holy Cross was called for an illegal screen, giving the ball to Bullitt Central at :27.8.
Bullitt Central would need all of that time. The Lady Cougars fed the ball to Leonard for three-pointers three different times and each time the ball bounced off the rim long. The last time the ball kicked to Graham and she took a step back before draining the tying three-pointer.
“When I used my last time-out, I told them we wanted the ball on Belle’s side (of the court),” Roach recalled. “We wanted to attack. It was big. I told them to attack and get the best look.”
In the overtime, Holy Cross got the ball first, but missed. At the other end, Bullitt Central got the three-pointer from Ross that propelled them to the win. Both teams struggled in the overtime. Bullitt Central converted just three of nine free throw chances, but Holy Cross did not score until the end.
“That’s one where I’m yelling ‘no’ and then she knocks it down,” Roach said of Ross’ big basket. “That settled us down and we were able to rebound and hit enough of our free throws.”
Bullitt Central got 21 points from Graham and 15 from Leonard. Still had a strong game inside, blocking ten shots. The winners had eight three-pointers in the game including four in the final frame.
Holy Cross was led by Hockman with 18 points while Morabito had 15.
Bullitt Central was back on the court early this week, playing Bardstown on Monday and Bullitt East on Tuesday. The team will be at home the rest of the regular season including a game on Friday against Central Hardin.
Friday at Bullitt Central
HOLY CROSS 59 (18-13-14-11-3) Hockman 18, Miller 11, Lockwood 1, Morabito 15, Blackwell 9, Newton 2, Klein 3.
BULLITT CENTRAL 62 (11-13-10-22) Lexi Graham 21, Breanna Richardson 8, Kasey Renfrow 4, Belle Leonard 15, Stephanie Still 3, Shelby Ross 8, Emily McKnight 3.