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A real Bullitt Central flavor prevails in local basketball

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By Mike Farner

SHEPHERDSVILLE - With the hiring of Amber Courtney as the new girls’ basketball coach at North Bullitt, the sport takes on a distinctly Bullitt Central feel.

Of the six girls’ and boys’ basketball coaches at the three Bullitt County high schools, five played and are graduates of Bullitt Central. The lone exception at this point is Bullitt East boys’ coach Troy Barr who graduated from the school where he now coaches.

I don’t know if we’re quite ready to call Bullitt Central the ‘cradle of coaches,’ but it is an interesting coincidence how many former Cougar players are now taking over high school programs.

The obvious link is former Bullitt Central head coach Bill Schott. He coached four of the five in this group including Lee Barger (North Bullitt boys), Joe Pat Lee (Bullitt Central boys), Bryan Bates (Bullitt Central girls) and Chris Stallings (Bullitt East girls).

Plus, besides the five local coaches with Bullitt Central ties, there are two others, Wayne Breeden and Jeff Stamps, who are coaching at high schools out in the state. There are also a handful of assistant coaches at other schools, most notably Brent Dennison at Oldham County, who attended school in Shepherdsville. All three of those individuals played for Schott also.

There were also a couple of other coaches who played under Schott who are not in coaching at this point.

Courtney’s hiring might be the start of a new branch of the Bullitt Central coaching tree. Unlike the others, Courtney played under former Lady Cougar head coach Christy Coulter. A handful of Coulter’s former players are in the pipeline now as assistant coaches and might be ready to take over programs in the coming years.

A Mixed Staff

As of this week, Courtney has hired Janna Johnson as her number one assistant coach. Johnson played at North Bullitt when she was Janna Funyak.

In the next week or two, it is expected that Courtney will round out her ‘paid’ assistant coaching staff with Nikki Spencer. Spencer played at Bullitt East when she was Nikki Randall and is now teaching at Cedar Grove Elementary.

That will give the Lady Eagles a coaching staff that includes a graduate of each of the three Bullitt County high schools. That should make for some interesting chats during some down time.

Perhaps of more interest is the fact that Courtney’s staff will be the first all female group to lead a girls’ basketball program in Bullitt County. While that is certainly not a pre-requisite of a coaching staff, I do think that most school administrators normally would like to have at least one female coach within any girls’ program.

Two of the three volleyball programs in Bullitt County have all female coaching staffs and Bullitt Central head coach Chad Foster has a female assistant coach. All three softball programs have male head coaches, but two of those have female assistant coaches.

At this point, only the Bullitt Central girls’ basketball program and the Bullitt East softball program have all male coaching staffs at the ‘paid’ level in basketball, softball and volleyball. The Lady Cougar basketball program does have two ‘volunteer’ female coaches.

BE’s Summer Shoot-Out

The Lady Charger Summer Shoot-Out will be back in town over the first three days of this week.

There will be 15 schools taking part at different levels in three days filled with summer scrimmages. This is not a tournament in the true sense as there will not be a champion crowned. This is just a chance for the teams to get together and compete in summer scrimmages.

The Bullitt East event is popular amongst coaches because the contests are conducted under fairly regular game conditions. While many summer events have running clocks, coach Chris Stallings’ event will have regular game clocks involved. The only rule changes will be the number of fouls before shots are taken.

There are 15 schools that will be involved and there will be both varsity and junior-varsity contests. Bullitt East’s varsity will be playing as well as three different Bullitt East junior-varsity squads. North Bullitt will also play two varsity contests on Monday.

Bullitt East, expected to be a top-10 team when the season stars in late November, has lost just twice this summer - to Franklin County and Breathitt County. Franklin County will be part of the Shoot-out but will not face Bullitt East.

If you like to see top players, then the highlight this week will be the Christian Academy team that is led by Antonita Slaughter who has already committed to the University of Louisville. She is a 6-foot wing player who is very athletic. Her brother, A.J., is playing at Western Kentucky University right now. At this point, Slaughter is probably the leading candidate for Miss Basketball honors next season.

The Bullitt East varsity team played this morning at 9 a.m. against Central Hardin in a game at Bullitt East. The top Bullitt East team will also play at 6 p.m. on Tuesday against Pleasure Ridge Park in a game at Mount Washington Middle School. Stallings’ team will then take on Manual at 11 a.m. on Wednesday at Bullitt East before taking on Hart County at 5 p.m. at Bullitt East. The team’s fifth game in three days will then be the last game of the tournament at 7 p.m. against Presentation at Mount Washington Middle School.

North Bullitt’s two games will be on Monday at Bullitt East. Courtney’s new team will take on Made County at 3 p.m. and Pleasure Ridge Park at 7 p.m.

In all, there will be 65 games played over three days at Bullitt East and Mount Washington Middle School.