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SHEPHERDSVILLE - A red-hot start was more than enough for the Bullitt Central Lady Cougars on Friday as they rolled past visiting North Bullitt 88-60.
The win was the second this season for Bullitt Central over their county rivals and capped off a regular season in which the Lady Cougars had just one loss within the 24th Distirct (to Bullitt East).
This one was in the bag early as Bullitt Central scored the first eight points of the contest and then led 26-7 after one quarter. North Bullitt did find some offense, but they could never slow down the Bullitt Central offense.
Bullitt Central played without head coach Bryan Bates who missed the game with a bad case of the flu. It was the first game he has missed in seven years as the head coach. Assistant coach Troy Wood filled in for the victory.
“We just wanted to play our game and do what we normally do,” Wood said after the win. “They were stressed out a little with coach Bates not here.
“We just told them to play their game,” the assistant coach added. “I told them the only that will change is who is barking at them.”
Bullitt Central finished with seven three-pointers in the game, one less than North Bullitt, but four of those bombs came in the first quarter when the game was decided. In fact, Keoka Hilliard and Selena Yunt connected on three-pointers in the first two minutes of the game as Bullitt Central took the 8-0 lead.
Following a time-out, North Bullitt did get a three-pointer from Caitlin Montgomery, but then Bullitt Central reeled off 16 straight points including a pair of three-pointers from senior Ashleigh Pollard.
In the second quarter, Bullitt Central pushed the margin all the way to 41-7 as North Bullitt could not handle the Lady Cougars’ full-court pressure. The Lady Eagles did not score until the 3:01 mark when seventh-grader Katie Downey broke the drought. The Lady Eagles did manage to go on a short-run of their own, getting back to within 43-22 at halftime.
“We can out flat and they came out making everything,” North Bullitt head coach Amber Courtney said later. “They were making up for their two poor games earlier in the week.”
Courtney called a time-out less than two minute into the game.
“I told them they better decide to wake up or they could sit next to me,” the coach recalled of the time-out. “They didn’t come ready to play. That’s what it boils down to.”
North Bullitt had not played earlier in the week as poor weather, or the threat of poor weather, had canceled a pair of games.
“They was no excuse for it,” Courtney said. “We didn’t do what we wanted to do. We beat ourselves. It wasn’t Bullitt Central’s pressure. We just didn’t do what we were supposed to do.”
Wood didn’t want to press the entire game because of the growing margin.
“When we pull off the press, we tend to give up some shots,” Wood noted. “We play the best when we play upbeat and uptempo.”
Bullitt Central had plenty of tempo in this game. Hilliard, a senior, led the way with 20 points while the maroon and gray also got 12 points each from Yunt and Kaitlyn McKnight. Pollard finished with 11 points.
North Bullitt did get 18 points from freshman Savannah Morrison as well as 15 points by Downey.
This game was not used in the seeding-process for next week’s 24th District Tournament which will be played at Bullitt Central. It was already known that the two teams will be on opposite sides of the bracket.
North Bullitt will take on Fairdale on Monday at 6 p.m. with the winner of that game to play Bullitt East at 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Bullitt Central will take on Southern at 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday in the second semi-final.
At Bullitt Central
NORTH BULLITT 60 (7-15-21-17) Savannah Morrison 18, Holly White 4, Caitlin Montgomery 9, Reba Stice 9, Katie Downey 15, Rachel Badgett 5.
BULLITT CENTRAL 88 (26-17-22-23) Keoka Hilliard 20, Valerie Terry 8, Ashleigh Pollard 11, Rachel Farber 6, Seaera Minyard 8, Kaitlyn McKnight 12, Kristen Collins 5, Kayla Riggs 6, Selena Yunt 12.
While the victory over North Bullitt on Friday was a strong performance for the Lady Cougars, the win came at the end of a week in which the Lady Cougars did not play their best in a loss to Presentation and a narrow win over Western.
Against Presentation on Tuesday, the Lady Cougars let a big lead get away in the second half as they dropped a 62-51 decision. Presentation outscored Bullitt Central 33-20 in the second half.
Bullitt Central did get 17 points from Hilliard with five three-pointers along with 10 points off the bench from Kristen Collins.
On Wednesday, the Lady Cougars had a 20-point lead over Western but then saw that margin get as close as six points down the stretch before Bullitt Central secured the 70-63 victory.
Bullitt Central had trouble containing Western’s Carmen Lowe who finished with a game-high 31 points. No other player scored more than nine points for the Lady Warriors.
Hilliard once again led the Lady Cougars with 20 points while the team also got 11 points each from McKnight and Yunt.
“We got leads and just gave them away,” Wood said. “That’s what happened at Prez. We had a 12 point lead and gave it away.”
BULLITT CENTRAL 51 (17-14-12-8) Keoka Hilliard 17, Ashleigh Pollard 3, Seaera Minyard 9, Kristen Collins 11, Kayla Riggs 4, Selena Yunt 7.
PRESENTATION 62 (11-18-17-16) Humphreys 7, Reeder 15, Adams 14, Kirchner 4, Russ 12, Degner 8, Andres 2.
At Bullitt Central
WESTERN 63 (10-12-16-25) Swain 4, Riliford 2, Jones 6, Lowe 31, Beach 2, Matthews 9, Calvert 7.
BULLITT CENTRAL 70 (23-19-9-19) Keoka Hilliard 20, Valerie Terry 3, Ashleigh Pollard 4, Rachel Farber 2, Seaera Minyard 7, Kaitlyn McKnight 11, Kristen Collins 9, Kayla Riggs 3, Selena Yunt 11.
Back in the Saddle
After the poor start against Bullitt Central on Friday, the North Bullitt Lady Eagles did an about-face a night later, running out to a 19-5 lead over Fort Knox in the first quarter and then coasting to a 59-29 victory.
North Bullitt pushed that lead to 31-10 at halfttime and had a 42-12 lead after three quarters.
Fort Knox has won just one game this season.
Amazingly, North Bullitt did not have any players score in double-digits. Courtney’s team did have 12 different players score including nine points each from Morrison and Downey.
At Fort Knox
NORTH BULLITT 59 (19-12-11-17) Savannah Morrison 9, Holly White 2, Caitlin Montgomery 8, Reba Stice 2, Katie Downey 9, Kasey McCoy 4, Rachel Badgett 6, Erin Dolan 8, Bre Stewart 2, Kelsey Raikes 5, Maggie Stinnet 2, Belle Leonard 2.
FORT KNOX 29 (5-5-2-17) Swilley 3, Wilson 4, Kelley 2, Jackson 18, Smith 1, Lee 1.