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FAIRDALE - For the first three quarters on Saturday afternoon, Amber Courtney was not a happy coach.
But, with some aggressive play, the North Bullitt Lady Eagles did what no squad has been able to do the past two seasons - win a district basketball game.
Tied at 30 going into the final eight minutes against the host Fairdale Lady Bulldogs, Savannah Morrison hit a pair of big three-pointers and Maria George hit free throws down the stretch to propel North Bullitt to a 50-42 victory.
“That was not my team out there today,” said Courtney, who said the 2 p.m. tipoff seemed to leave both teams flat. “We could never get into a flow today.”
Teams that press don’t normally like to be pressed. North Bullitt fell into that category on Saturday.
With both teams trying to apply pressure, never handled the ball well and most of the shots were rushed.
Morrison started fast as she scored seven of the team’s 11 first-quarter points.
But pressure defense applied by the athletic Fairdale team caused fits for the Lady Eagles. The home team scored the final five points of the opening stanza for a 17-11 lead.
With Katie Downey coming off the bench to provide a spark, North Bullitt took off in the second quarter. Downey had 10 points for the quarter, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the visitors a 25-24 lead at intermission.
It was a whole new ballgame as the fourth quarter saw the teams tied at 30-30.
Morrison played big by hitting two early three pointers and Reba Stice threw in a field goal.
Turning back on the full-court pressure, North Bullitt expanded the lead to 47-39 with just 1:06 left.
By that time, the subs took over and finished out the 50-42 victory.
“They were athletic and could beat the press. But we went back to it in the fourth quarter and it paid off.”
It also seemed to help that the team began to watch up before it was too late.
“We hit enough free throws to make it comfortable.”
Courtney said that although she wasn’t particularly pleased with the performance, the team is continuing to get better. He didn’t think the squad would have won this game it was played a month earlier.
“It is so important to get a district victory,” said Courtney, whose team is looking to avoid playing the opening tournament game between the fourth- and fifth-place finishers. “But we have a lot of work to do between now and then.”
The victory lifted North Bullitt to 4-8.
NORTH BULLITT 50 (11-14-5-20) - Savannah Morrison 18, Katie Downey 12, Maria George 13, Reba Stice 4, Catlin Montgomery 2, Shelby Morrison 1
Fairdale 42 (17-7-6-12) - Larrista Togood 11, Kia Hanley 9, Narissa Keown 8, Sam Cleaver 6, Kourtney Ashby 5, Catlin Cleaver 3
Loss to Jeffersontown
On Tuesday, Courtney’s team had the opportunity to face undefeated Jeffersontown. If the game started at halftime, North Bullitt would have won 32-26.
Unfortunately for the Lady Eagles, the first half was played and Jeffersontown clearly won that portion of the game 43-6.
In the end, Jeffersontown won 69-38.
“We played really poor in the first half,” said Courtney. “But after we hit a few shots, we realized we can play with them.”
She was very proud of the effort after intermission, especially since Jeffersontown didn’t start substituting until the fourth quarter.
NORTH BULLITT 38 (2-4-13-19) - Savannah Morrison 24, Kasey McCoy 6, Shelby Morrison 4, Katie Downey 4
At Jeffersontown 69 (24-19-11-15) - Holt 17, Roan 16, Boyd 13, Downing 8, Calderon 7, Holbert 5, Betts 3