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SHEPHERDSVILLE – Coming off a poor performance two days earlier in the Bullitt County Challenge, the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars needed a big performance to regain some lost momentum.
The maroon and gray did just that on Monday, turning back a small, but athletic John Hardin squad by a 42-37 score.
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it was far better than what the team did in the loss the previous Saturday against Lexington Catholic.
“That was a lot better,” second-year Bullitt Central head coach Kyle Roach said right after the game. “I was so proud of the girls. That might be the best we have played.
“We had the tough loss against North Bullitt and then we just played so bad on Saturday,” the coach added. “We found a lot of courage to win. We had a strong three minutes there at the end. Lexi (Graham) grew up and managed the game and got the ball where it needs to go.
“I was scared tonight,” Roach admitted. We could have lost and then gone in the wrong direction. The day off helped them and tonight we were ready to go.”
This one looked like it would be all Bullitt Central after the Lady Cougars bolted out to an 11-1 lead after one quarter of play. That didn’t last long as John Hardin scored the first nine points of the second quarter. By halftime, the Lady Cougars were only on top 17-16.
The comeback by the visiting Bulldogs continued early in the second half as John Hardin pulled ahead at 27-26 late in the third quarter. Heading into the fourth quarter, John Hardin had a 30-27 lead.
Neither team scored over the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, but coming out of a time-out, Bullitt Central got a four-point play from sophomore Cortney Johns to put them back ahead. John Hardin answered with a three-pointer, but at the 3:04 mark Johns scored again to tie the game. Moments later, junior Shelby Ross nailed a three-pointer and Bullitt Central was ahead for good.
With Bullitt Central leading 36-35, John Hardin called time-outs at both 1:46 and 1:08 before Graham stepped to the line and hit two free throws with 38 seconds remaining in the game. After John Hardin turned the ball over, the Lady Cougars beat the press, getting the ball to Stephanie Still for a lay-up. At :10.4 Bullitt Central committed a foul they didn’t need to commit and the two free throws made it 40-37. On the inbounds play, John Hardin was whistled for delay of game, the second such call in the game. Ross stepped to the free throw line and sealed the win by hitting both of the technical foul shots.
Still paced Bullitt Central with ten points and a basket-full of blocked shots. Off the bench, both Johns and Ross finished with nine points each.
“They played great and played strong,” Roach said of his two players off the bench. “It’s good for them to get their confidence up. It was especially big for Shelby to gain some confidence.”
This is a Bullitt Central team without a senior on the roster.
“I’m just so excited about this group,” Roach said of his now 4-2 team. “It says a lot about us. This will be a good group and will do special things for Lady Cougar basketball. They are dedicated and get in the gym every chance they get. They are making progress.”
This was the last game before the Lady Cougars entered their only tournament of the regular season. On Friday and Saturday of this past weekend they competed in the Salt River Electric Tournament at Spencer County High School.
At Bullitt Central
JOHN HARDIN 37 (1-15-14-7) Stall 7, Bohannon 9, Haley 10, Jackson 8, Fletcher 1, Sanders 2.
BULLITT CENTRAL 42 (11-6-10-15) Lexi Graham 6, Kasey Renfrow 3, Stephanie Still 10, Bell Leonard 3, Cortney Johns 9, Bethany Peercy 2, Shelby Ross 9.