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HEBRON ESTATES - It’s as simple as climbing a ladder.
The problem is that sometimes you may be inclined to go down a step or two along your journey.
For the North Bullitt Eagles, all the steps have been positive ones the past month.
On Thursday, with a loud, fun-loving crowd in the stands, the Eagles continued to move up the ladder. And they also secured the top seed in the district tournament later this month.
After getting off to a bit of a slow start, North Bullitt used a 25-4 run in the first and second quarters to easily turn back Southern 77-44.
The victory provided North Bullitt with a perfect 3-0 run in the 23rd District regular season and upped the team’s record to 11-7 on the year.
“Southern has some good shooters and some good athletes,” said North Bullitt Eagle head coach Brian Courtney. “We wanted to stop their penetration and force some turnovers.”
The Eagles’ swarming, trapping defense did just that. Not allowing Southern to ever get settled into its half-court offense, North Bullitt quickly put the game out of reach.
Lone senior Jarred George got the game started before the clock ticked a second. Southern was called for a technical for dunking during warmups.
Staked to a 2-0 lead, North Bullitt found itself in its only trouble of the evening down 7-2. From that point on, it was all Eagles.
George connected on two more free throws and Ricky Dunnavan nailed a three-pointer. Dominque Ellis hit a pair of charity tosses to knot the score at 9-9 and George stole the ball, was fouled and hit two free throws.
The momentum continued as Jared Free found Zack Gearlds open for a layup and George hit another pair of free throws. George stole the ball and found Free open and Dunnavan had another layup. Free stole a pass and hit a layup and Dunnavan and Jared Higgs closed out the quarter with a pair of treys.
To open the second quarter, George opened with eight points, including a pair of three-pointers.
The run continued until intermission, where North Bullitt led 49-28.
“Our defense was good tonight and we were able to get a number of turnovers,” said Courtney. “I think we forced them into the early turnovers and that hurt them. I sure didn’t expect a 30-point win tonight.”
Offensively, Courtney is pleased with the progress.
Over the summer, the team went to a motion offense. With little size but some very good ballhandlers, Courtney said the motion offense seemed to be the best fit.
“We have so many good ball handlers and good shooters,” said Courtney. “If we don’t let the ball stall, we can do some good things.”
Besides being successful on the win-loss scoreboard, Courtney said the players seem to like the style.
“It’s a fun way to play,” said Courtney.
One thing Courtney is preaching is the trap of becoming complacent.
“It’s another step up the ladder,” Courtney said of the top seeding going into the district. “But it is important we don’t take a step back down on the ladder.”
By earning the top seed, it helps in the real goal of the season -- to win a district title and advance to the Sixth Region tournament.
“Our immediate goal is to get better every day,” said Courtney. “We talk about it in practice. But I think we are getting better.”
On Thursday, George had a monster game in a contest where the starters had plenty of time to rest on the bench. The senior had 27 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Dunnavan connected on three treys and Free and Higgs each had one. Tretn Napier had 10 rebounds on the night.
At NORTH BULLITT (27-22-16-12) 77 - Jarred George 27, Ricky Dunnavan 15, Jared Free 11, Jared Higgs 10, Dominique Ellis 5, Chase McKenzie 4, Zack Gearlds 4, Zac June 1.
Southern (11-17-8-8) 44 - Andrews 17, Warren 5, White 4, Thixton 4, Elliott 3, Burdick 3, Hasty 2, Burks 2, Sulzer 2, Wilson 2
NB beats Bethlehem
The hot shooting of Ricky Dunnavan continued on Friday night as the junior hit six three-pointers to key a 58-51 victory over visiting Bethlehem.
The win pushed the Eagles to 12-7 on the season.
Showing no letdown from Thursday’s big win over Southern to clinch the top seed in the district tournament, North Bullitt jumped out on top 17-10 in the first quarter.
However, going into the final quarter, North Bullitt led by just a single point.
For the night, North Bullitt would hit 11 three-pointers. Besides the half-dozen from Dunnavan, Jared Free and Jared Higgs each hit two and Jarred George added one.
At NORTH BULLITT (17-11-13-17) 58 - Ricky Dunnavan 24, Jared Free 12, Jarred George 9, Jared Higgs 6, Dominique Ellis 5, Zack Gearlds 2
Bethlehem (10-14-16-11) 51 - Hutchins 22, Beisler 13, Hagan 7, Cerzantes 4, Goode 3, Fenwick 2