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MOUNT WASHINGTON - Over the previous 16 years, the Mount Washington Lady Generals have dominated girls’ basketball at the middle school level, winning all but two of the Bullitt County championships during that span.
This year, after not winning the title a year ago, coach Christal Scott’s team had a lot to play for. The coach was well aware that traditional would not help the squad against strong opposition from the teams at Eastside and Bernheim.
The first job was to win the regular season title and get the easier draw in the tournament. The Lady Generals did that.
Then on Thursday, Mount Washington ascended back to their spot at the top of local basketball when they beat Eastside 35-23.
“This was a very good year,” Scott said as her team cut down the nets on their home floor. “Considering that we were runners-up in the ‘B’ final and the ‘A’ final last year we knew we had a lot of work to do.
“We worked hard over the summer and put a good record together with our schedule and got the number one seed,” the veteran coach said. “We had a lot of parity in the county this year. It was important to be number one.”
The championship game of the Bullitt County Middle School Tournament was sponsored by Arch L. Heady and Son Funeral Home. This is the 12th year that the game has been supported by Tim Gonterman and his organization.
For first-year Eastside head coach David Marion, who will join Scott on the Bullitt East Lady Charger coaching staff this week, not having the top seed became painfully obvious on Thursday. Two nights earlier, the Lady Eagles needed two free throws in the closing seconds and then an overtime to beat Bernheim. Eastside could not carry that emotion over, scoring just five points in the first half in the championship game.
“I think the Bernheim game took something out of us,” Marion said. “We didn’t have the same energy we had in the Bernheim game.”
Mount Washington took Eastside out of their offense with have defensive pressure all over the floor.
“We didn’t have a lot of offense,” Marion pointed out. “Their press wore on us and we couldn’t get it up the floor.”
Both teams seemed a little nervous in front of the big crowd early in the game. Neither team scored until the 3:15 mark when Mount Washington got a free throw. In fact, all of the Lady Generals’ six points in the first quarter came at the foul line. Eastside didn’t score until six seconds remained when seventh-grader Courtney Pfister got a basket inside.
Mount Washington finally got a basket when Cady Cornell scored at the 5:07 mark. The Lady Generals took control of the game with a 12-3 edge in the second quarter, going up 18-5 at halftime.
In the second half, Eastside got to within ten points but could get no closer.
The two teams had split regular season games but Mount Washington had the better seed because of two wins over Bernheim, a team that Eastside lost two games against.
Mount Washington finished with a 17-7 record overall.
“We beat some nice teams,” Scott said. “We really came together toward the end of the season.
“I can’t recall a team that improved so much, so rapidly,” the veteran coach added. “They have improved by leaps and bounds. It’s been fun to watch the transition.”
Mount Washington has a long history of winning and that won’t change anytime soon. The ‘A’ teams are normally made up of eighth-graders, but the Lady Generals got 20 of their 35 points from seventh-graders.
Kayleigh Sharpe, one of the seventh-graders, came off the bench and scored ten points while another seventh-grader,
Emily Fryman had eight points. Mount Washington also got seven points from Ashley Hopper.
Pfister led Eastside with ten points, but no other Lady Eagle player scored more than four points.
Eastside finished the season with an 18-7 mark. The Lady Eagles reversed the two regular season losses to Bernheim when Taylor Blain hit two free throws with six seconds to play in the tournament semi-finals. Eastside then won the game by five points in overtime.
Bullitt County Middle School ‘A’ Championship at Mt. Washington MS:
MOUNT WASHINGTON 35 (6-12-7-10) Sara Stevens 2, Ashley Hopper 7, Erin Smallwood 2, Cady Cornell 4, Emily Fryman 8, Kayleigh Sharpe 10, Mackenzie Bass 2, Courtney Beaton, Taylor Blair, Emily Marksbury, Layden Page, Shelby Hammons.
EASTSIDE 23 (2-3-15-8) Courtney Pfister 10, Selena Yunt 1, Kayla Raymer 4, Taylor Blain 4, Katlyn Scott 1, Faith Pope 2, Jessica Hanna 1, Taylor Williamson, Jessica Endicott, Morgan Raymer, Bree Beichler, Christina Klein, Kortney Underwood, Olivia Pruitt, Megan Fell.
The future of girls’ middle school basketball was showcased on Thursday when the ‘B’ team final was contested as a preliminary to the overall ‘A’ championship game at Mount Washington Middle School.
The Mount Washington Lady Generals had a five point surge late in the first quarter and then rolled to a 30-21 victory over Bernheim.
The Bullitt County Middle School ‘B’ Championship game was sponsored by Arch L. Heady and Son Funeral Home.
The game was tied at 3-3 when Mount Washington scored the last five points of the opening quarter. The Lady Generals then pushed that to 15-8 by halftime. Bernheim could not make a serious run in the second half, trailing by as many as 14 points.
The two teams had split games in the regular season.
“After the first two games, we really wanted to beat them,” said Mount Washington head coach Jen Beichler. “Our ‘B’ team has lost (in the final) the last two years so we wanted this one.”
The Mount Washington ‘B’ team finished the season with a 20-4 record. In the final, Taylor Blair led Mount Washington with 12 points while Kaleigh Sharpe had seven points to go along with six points from Kelly Lutes.
Bernheim was led by Emily Gould who scored six points.
The Lady Bruins are coached by the husband-wife team of Josh and Tonya Cravens. That teams posted a 13-7 record.
“It was a roller-coaster ride with this team,” Josh Cravens said after the game. “We would play well and then have a tough week.”
Both of the Bernheim coaches, who also coach the ‘A’ team that lost in the semi-finals, will now move on and help coach the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars.
Bullitt County Middle School ‘B’ Championship at Mt. Washington MS:
MOUNT WASHINGTON 30 (8-7-9-6) Emily Fryman 5, Kaleigh Sharpe 7, Taylor Blair 12, Kelly Lutes 6, Mackenzie Bass, Cassidy Jones, Megan Marksbury, Courtney Wallace, Abi Duncan, Maeve Armstrong, Abby Pickett, Savannah Saylor, Kaitlyn Ballard and Lauren Reynolds.
BERNHEIM 21 (3-5-2-11) Courtney Riggs 4, Emily Gould 6, Taylor Boston 2, Megan Terry 2, Chelsey Fogarty 1, Shelby Ross 2, Emily McKnight 4, Whitney Veatch, Brooke Argenbright, Breanna Richarson, Savannah Williams, Stephanie Still and Morgan Daugherty.