HEBRON ESTATES - For a team whose calling card is normally high-scoring offense, Friday’s 44-29 victory by Bullitt Central over arch-rival North Bullitt had Lady Cougar head coach Bryan Bates talking about defense.
The difference in the game came in the second quarter when the Lady Cougars allowed zero points. From a 9-5 advantage midway through the first quarter, Bullitt Central ran out to a 26-6 lead at halftime, pretty much sealing the win.
This was the second victory of the season for Bullitt Central over the Lady Eagles. The two teams do not meet again during the regular season.
“Defense saved us tonight, especially in the first half” Bates said after the game. “Our on the ball defense was really good. We wanted to do a good job on (Chelsea) Hoke because she can score for them.
“They didn’t score in the second quarter,” the coach added. “I told the girls that is what won us the game. They outscored us in the second half.”
While North Bullitt did have a 23-18 scoring advantage in the second half, the Lady Eagles never made a big run at the Lady Cougars. Bullitt Central led 36-10 with three minutes to go in the third quarter before Bates substituted freely the rest of the way. North Bullitt scored the last seven points of the game to make the score look as close as it did.
“We basically have three kids do our scoring and when they don’t score, we won’t do very well,” North Bullitt head coach Bill Robinette said. “We didn’t help ourselves when we missed free throws when we did have a chance to score.”
North Bullitt’s top scoring trio of Hoke, Breanna Kuffner and Ashley Goeing combined to score just 15 points and Kuffner had nine of that total.
Bullitt Central had won the earlier meeting in Shepherdsville 64-40 and Bates didn’t think that outcome had any bearing on his team’s low offensive output in the second meeting.
“I think they were ready to play,” the coach said of his team. “It was just one of those nights where we didn’t shoot it well. You have to play good defense on these nights. Our defense was good enough to win tonight.”
Bullitt Central made seven three-pointers in this game, including three by senior Lindsay Hester, but that is below their recent output.
“That’s still a lot of three-pointers,” Robinette said as his team made just one of the long shots. “They make as many threes as we score points. They are a good offensive team. Our best shooter had a bad night. We don’t make good passes and good decisions. That’s what it is during a rebuilding year.”
Hester led all scorers in the game with 16 points. Two of her three-pointers came in the first two minutes of the second half.
“We just seemed to get lost on Hester and she had two open looks at the start of the second half,” Robinette said. “She is as good a shooter as has been around here lately. You have to take the three pointers away from her.”
The players from the two schools have been battling each other for years. It starts in the youth leagues and continues right up through high school. There are not a lot of surprises at this point in time.
“When you play like North Bullitt and Bullitt East we know everything they do and they know everything we do,” Bates pointed out. “A lot of times it is a defensive battle. That’s what it was tonight.”
Bullitt Central also got 12 points from sophomore Keoka Hilliard. All of Bullitt Central’s points came from the five starters.
North Bullitt got nine points each from Kuffner and senior Christina Dilley, but no other Lady Eagle scored more than three points.
At North Bullitt
BULLITT CENTRAL 44 (13-13-10-8) Lindsay Hester 16, Qualeatha Bennett 2, Janie Baumgardner 8, Keoka Hilliard 12, Valerie Terry 6.
NORTH BULLITT 29 (6-0-8-15) Breanna Kuffner 9, Ashley Goeing 4, Christina Dilley 9, Mecenzie Ellis 2, Chelsea Hoke 2, Holly White 3.