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SHEPHERDSVILLE – The month of February has turned out pretty well to this point for the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars.
After struggling through January with only four wins in 11 games, the maroon and gray have reinvented themselves in the final month of the regular season. The only loss for the Lady Cougars came against Bullitt East, a top-10 team. By the end of the regular season on Friday, Bullitt Central was 16-12 overall after going 7-1 over the final month.
Last Tuesday, in front of a large homecoming crowd, the Lady Cougars picked up another win with their new identity, knocking off visiting Thomas Nelson High School 40-34. Bullitt Central had beaten the new school in Nelson County 50-45 to open the season back in December.
At this point, the Lady Cougars are doing it with defense. That has been a necessity as the offense has struggled at times. That was the case again in this game as Bullitt Central scored just 11 points in the second half, but still managed to claim a win.
“At this time of the season you have to pull together and pull out the wins,” Bullitt Central head coach Kyle Roach said after this win.
“We’ve been playing better here lately,” the coach said. “Tonight wasn’t as good. We only had three three-pointers, but we still found a way to pull it out.”
Roach knew his team’s performance probably didn’t impress many in the big crowd.
“I would have loved to come out and win by a lot, but it doesn’t always work that way,” he said. “We played (Martha Layne) Collins last night. Tonight we just took care of business.”
After it was 3-0 Thomas Nelson in the opening moments of the game, Bullitt Central finally got on the board when junior Breanna Richardson nailed a three-pointer at the 4:47 mark. The Lady Cougars scored 11 straight points and then never trailed again.
The maroon and gray were up 17-8 after one quarter and it took the Lady Generals scoring the last four points of the half to pull within 29-21 at halftime.
But then the offenses really struggled. Bullitt Central scored only four points in the third quarter and had only one basket, a short jumper by Shelby Ross in the final minute of the frame. That left the Lady Cougars up 33-26.
Neither team scored over the first three minutes of the fourth quarter before Ross scored four of her game-high 13 points. With 1:38 remaining in the game, the Lady Generals pulled within 38-33, but they would get no closer.
Ross came off the bench to score her 13 points and the Lady Cougars also got 10 points from junior point guard Lexi Graham.
Thomas Nelson (16-12) didn’t have anyone score more than eight points.
Tuesday at Bullitt Central
THOMAS NELSON 34 (8-13-5-8) Fritz 2, Orr 2, Dickson 7, Wygal 7, Wolf 4, Tichenor 8, Sampson 2, Knott 2.
BULLITT CENTRAL 40 (17-12-4-7) Lexi Graham 10, Breanna Richardson 3, Belle Leonard 7, Kasey Renfrow 2, Stephanie Still 1, Shelby Ross 13, Emily McKnight 4.
With all the games lost in the previous month because of bad weather, Roach has scurried to find games to fill out the schedule. As it turned out, the Lady Cougars still played two games under the limit of 30 games.
On late addition was a game on Monday against Martha Layne Collins, a team that opted to make the trip to Shepherdsville for a game.
As they did the next night, Bullitt Central got out to a quick lead and never trailed. Still, they never put the visitors away until the final moments.
While Collins never got closer than three points, the Lady Cougars kept the lead by hitting six free throws in the fourth quarter and scoring 14 points.
“I thought we were in control in that game,” Roach said. “We held their best player to seven points which I was pleased with.”
Bullitt Central, a team without a senior, got 15 points from junior Breanna Richardson as well as 12 points from Lexi Graham, a sophomore.
Monday at Bullitt Central
MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS 47 (6-12-14-15) Vogel 11, Roberts 7, Renfro 4, Cloyd 4, Pullen 11, Hynes 3, Stener 7.
BULLITT CENTRAL 53 (10-14-15-14) Lexi Graham 12, Breanna Richardson 15, Belle Leonard 8 Kasey Renfrow 3, Stephanie Still 2, Shelby Ross 7, Emily McKnight 6.