Older, wiser Lady Eagles get the best of Bardstown

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By Thomas Barr

 HEBRON ESTATES - You must excuse Amber Courtney for her excitement over Monday night’s season opener against the Bardstown Tigers.

In her third season as head coach of the North Bullitt Lady Eagles, she is seeing the maturation of a team that was once dominated by underclassmen and middle school players.

That showed as North Bullitt got the season started with a 52-42 victory over a very athletic Bardstown team.

“Last year, we would have folded,” Courtney said of several stretches in the first half where shots weren’t falling and turnovers were mounting. “But we didn’t give up. You can see the maturity out there now.”

Having a rotation that will go at least 10 players deep, Courtney was pleased that everyone who played contributed something to the victory.

The game was won in the third quarter when the host team stretched a two-point lead to a 41-24 advantage heading into the final period.

“We played very good defense,” said Courtney. “We tried to change things up and the press worked well.”

The third-quarter run was fueled by Caitlin Montgomery and Maria George. 

George, a sophomore, grabbed a rebound and scored to open the quarter. Montgomery got free for a pair of layups and George converted two free throws and another basket to stretch the lead to 35-23.

The leading scorer was Savannah Morrison. The sophomore had a game-high 18 points and ran the offense most of the night.

Courtney credited Montgomery for being aggressive inside after having a strong late-season run last year.

And Morrison is showing much more maturity in running the offense, said her coach.

One of the big differences this year is that the players are finally going into games thinking that not only they can win but they should win games.

“They are playing so well together as a team,” said Courtney. “They have realized that it will take all of them to succeed.”

The difference between the first game last year and this year is huge, said Courtney.

“We are a much better team but we have a long, long way to go,” she added.

Playing an athletic team like Bardstown is also good in giving a coach some measurement on where her team is. One thing Courtney knows needs improvement is in the area of rebounding.

“That is a good team we played,” said Courtney. “They are quick. But we didn’t back down and we hustled the whole night.”

At NORTH BULLITT (10-15-16-11) 52 - Savannah Morrison 18, Caitlin Montgomery 17, Maria George 8, Holly White 3, Bre Stewart 3, Rachel Badgett 2, Reba Stice 1

Bardstown (10-13-1-18) 42 - Shyla Calbert 14, Keonna Stone 9, Abbie Parrish 6, Karis Rogers 5, Julia Comandini 4, Shannon Coleman 2, Spalding 2