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Life at the top of Sixth Region tough for Chargers

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Boys' Basketball

By Mike Farner

MOUNT WASHINGTON - The Bullitt East Chargers hosted Iroquois on Tuesday and learned that they still have some work to do to compete with the top teams in the Sixth Region.

The Raiders, getting 32 points from Jeremaine Jackson and 18 from Donovan Gibbs, pulled away over the final quarter and a half for an 80-59 victory. Bullitt East trailed 39-32 at halftime and pulled within 42-39 on a three-pointer by freshman Rusty Troutman early in the third quarter.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the Chargers could get as they scored just two points over the final four minutes of the third quarter, falling behind 54-41.

“I told the kids after the game that the only team less prepared for the second half than Iroquois was us,” Bullitt East head coach Troy Barr said after the game. “We didn’t take advantage of their play. As much as they were not ready to go, we were equally that way.”

Gibbs is the reigning Sixth Region Player of the Year and one of the top players in the state. Bullitt East put a lot into defending the senior and that left Jackson, a junior, free to score at will.

“He gets a lot with Gibbs in there,” Barr said of Jackson. “He (Gibbs) is the focal point and you leave other people open.”

From the point where the Raiders were leading 49-41 late in the third quarter to the time they led 69-48 midway through the final frame, Jackson and Gibbs combined to score all 20 of those points.

The first half was a fun basketball game to watch as the action went from baseline-to-baseline at a frantic pace. Iroquois only led 17-16 at the first stop and Bullitt East took a short lead when Chase Troutman converted a three-point play to open the second quarter. Hayden Sweat’s three-pointer put Bullitt East up 22-21 before Iroquois scored ten straight points to take the lead for good.

“We did a few good things,” Barr said of the first 20 minutes of the game. “It should have been a better score (at halftime). I felt we could have been tied or even had the lead.

“We are a young team and did some silly things,” the coach added. “The are a veteran team and they took advantage of it.”

Chase Troutman led Bullitt East with 17 points while Sweat collected 16 points with four three-pointers. Corey Washburn added 12 points and nine rebounds.

The Tuesday night game was the first time Barr had been with the team in almost a week. He had developed an infection during the team’s holiday tournament at Shelby County and had gone into the hospital on New Year’s Eve where he stayed for three days.

Bullitt East will be playing in the Boy’s Louisville Invitational Tournament this week. The Chargers will take on Pleasure Ridge Park on Tuesday at 8 p.m. at Bellarmine University.

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At Bullitt East

IROQUOIS 80 (17-22-15-27) Tolliver 9, Whitlock 4, Jackson 32, Gibbs 18, Wade 8, Buford 8, Sloss 1.

BULLITT EAST 59 (16-16-7-18) Rusty Troutman 8, Ryne McMullen 4, Hayden Sweat 16, Chase Troutman 17, Brett Hatfield 2, Corey Washburn 12.