No Monday games for local teams is great news

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – There will be no basketball for Bullitt County teams on Monday of this week and that is a good thing.

For the first time since the three local programs were moved into the Sixth Region for the 2005-2006 season, no Bullitt County team will play in the feed-in game between teams seeded fourth and fifth. In fact, as hard as it might have been to comprehend just a few years ago, all six of the Bullitt County teams are seeded either first or second in the brackets this week.

That sets up the big possibility of the ‘Super Scenario’ coming into play with all six Bullitt County teams advancing to next week’s Sixth Region Tournaments. Never have more than four Bullitt County teams advanced to the regional basketball tournaments.

Conversely, this is only the third season in which it was possible for as many as six Bullitt County teams to reach the big show. That was made possible when the county schools were split with North Bullitt and Bullitt Central in the 23rd District while Bullitt East is now in the 24th District.

Adding to the importance of this week’s district events is the fact that the district winners will host Sixth Region first-round games next Monday and Tuesday. This is something Jefferson County schools used to do prior to 2006 when Bullitt County schools were moved into the Louisville region (interesting timing, of course). With only nine days (eight if you don’t want to play on a Sunday) to play 28 games, there were just too many 3:30 p.m. games and then late nights when the tournaments are played at either Valley High School or Bellarmine University.

After the first-round games are played at area schools, with the girls’ playing on Monday and the boys’ on Tuesday, the rest of the Sixth and Seventh Region Tournaments will be played at Valley High School. Only one day, Wednesday, will there be four games played at the one site and even then the early games will involve the Seventh Region girls with the Sixth Region girls’ playing the two later games.

But first, there are the two district tournaments this week. Bullitt Central and North Bullitt will take part in the 23rd District Tournament at Southern High School. Bullitt East will be traveling to Jeffersontown High School for the 24th District games.

23rd District Boys

For the first time ever, North Bullitt and Bullitt Central hold the top-two seeds for the boys’ district tournament. Still, Southern and Moore have enough athletic talent to challenge either of the local teams.

In fact, the two schools had the top two seeds back in October for the boys’ soccer tournament. That week, they both lost in the opening round and Moore and Southern played for the title. No doubt, North Bullitt boys’ soccer coach Alex Young, who is Brian Courtney’s top assistant on the Eagle basketball bench, will be reminding his team of that finish.

Still, the Eagles and Cougars are both having strong seasons. They split with each other during the season, but North Bullitt has the number one seed after besting the Cougars 57-47 back on Jan. 10.

The biggest surprise of all is that North Bullitt has the longest winning streak in the Sixth Region, having won 17 straight games to close out the season. The Eagles have not lost since falling to Green County back on Jan. 4.

Are the Eagles flying under the radar? You bet. Do they care? Not in the least. The team has proven that winning is contagious.

During the winning streak, the Eagles have knocked off Bullitt Central, Moore and Southern. The Eagles will probably face Moore on Tuesday. Moore plays Evangel on Monday for the right to advance. North Bullitt defeated Moore 65-56 at Moore back on Jan. 27. Amazingly, Moore has just three wins this season.

Bullitt Central will then take on Southern in the second semi-final on Wednesday night. The Cougars will have to play on the Trojans’ home floor. The two teams have not played since Dec. 11 when the Cougars won the second game of the season 61-42.

Outlook: You gotta believe. For the ‘Super Scenario’ to unfold, the upsets have to be avoided right here. Still, both the Eagles and Cougars are playing good basketball right now. You got to believe they will meet in Friday’s championship game.

23rd District Girls

The North Bullitt Lady Eagles have won the past two district titles and they are solid favorites to make it three straight along with a third straight 20-win season.

Last year, Bullitt Central got derailed by Moore in the semi-finals, but there is no doubt that the two local teams are the best in this field this season.

       North Bullitt will take on a Moore team that has won only twice this season and weren’t even close to the Lady Eagles back on Jan. 27 (67-25). Bullitt Central blasted Southern 63-21 back on Dec. 11, but the Lady Trojans have won eight games this season.

       Outlook: North Bullitt and Bullitt Central will be meeting for a third time this season in the district final on Thursday.

       24th District Boys

       Bullitt East has dominated this district the past two seasons, but that was not the case this winter. Yes, the Chargers have the number one seed, but they only beat Whitefield Academy by a single point and Fern Creek by two points in the regular season meetings (and lost to Fern Creek in the boys’ LIT).

       An even bigger question mark is how the Chargers will play without senior forward Ezra Troutman who suffered an injury in Thursday’s win over Elizabethtown. The Chargers had struggled at times without senior point guard Rhett Troutman and this will be the first game they have played this season without his cousin, Ezra.

       One of those games without Rhett Troutman was the 62-61 victory over Whitefield Academy. Besides, not have their point guard that night, the Chargers had to play in the 200-seat gym at Whitefield Academy.

       The other semi-final has Fern Creek taking on Jeffersontown. That is probably the best first-round game in the entire 23rd District. The two teams played an overtime game back on Jan. 22 on the Jeffersontown court where the games will be played this week. That game should be a war on Wednesday.

       Outlook: Bullitt East should get past Whitefield, but it won’t be easy. Look for the Chargers to take on Fern Creek in the final on Friday. The Chargers will then need to be Sharpe on Friday to beat the Tigers in the rubber match.

       24th District Girls

       Before the season began it was all Bullitt East and Mercy and now at the end of the season it is Bullitt East and Mercy still.

       The two programs have played in both of the previous district finals since the present district was formed and it would be shocking if they are not playing again on Thursday, really shocking.

       Bullitt East defeated Mercy 63-38 back on Jan. 22 at Mercy. However, the Jaguars were without one of their post-players. And forget the fact that Mercy has a 12-13 record. The Jaguars play a schedule even tougher than Bullitt East (which is hard to do). Both teams are ranked among the top-20 teams in the state and with good reason.

       Outlook: Bullitt East will end the drought of district titles in the 24th District (Mercy has won every district title in all sports in this present alignment) with a win on Thursday, leaving Mercy as the team that the other three district winners don’t want to draw.