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SHEPHERDSVILLE - While many are still involved with football, basketball will be the name of the game this weekend when the 2008 Cougarama is held at Bullitt Central.
‘Kentucky’s Best Preseason Event’ will once again have some of the best teams in the area converging on Bullitt Central for two days filled with basketball scrimmages.
Basketball’s regular season starts on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
Cougar head coach Joe Pat Lee has corralled 16 teams for eight games over the two days. There will be two contests on Friday night as well as six on Saturday.
Because of the success in the past, Lee had no trouble finding enough teams for the 16 slots.
“It’s easy to fill it up,” the coach said on Monday. It’s easy to get 16 quality teams. The tough time is bringing in the big name teams from out in the state. We can get the Louisville schools. It’s a good line-up.”
As in the past, Bullitt Central and North Bullitt will be competing. One obvious absence is that Bullitt East opted not to play this year. Charger head coach Troy Barr said earlier this fall that he was looking for a different atmosphere, but that he was not ruling out returning to the event in the future.
Still, over half the teams that competed last season are back in the field in 2008.
These are all scrimmages. The teams will play four 10-minute quarters. There will be a few other minor rule changes. In addition, individual coaches can decide amongst themselves if they want to play a quarter with junior-varsity players.
On Friday, two familiar teams will be in action. The first game, at 6 p.m., will match Fairdale against Central Hardin. Then at 7:30 p.m., Bullitt Central will take the court against Fern Creek.
(Because North Bullitt is still playing football and has a game on Friday, the Eagles were shifted to a Saturday game at the last minute. The schedule on page B-1 was update as of Tuesday afternoon.)
Fairdale is the pre-season number one pick in the Sixth Region, ahead of Iroquois, Central and Bullitt East. The Bulldogs return seven of the top eight players from last season’s 24th District champions.
Bullitt Central picked up its football players on Monday, but both T.J. Flener and Jesse Vittitoe from that group are coming off injuries, but could play on Friday.
North Bullitt will now take the floor in the 4 p.m. game on Saturday. The Eagles will take on St. Xavier.
The two big games at the end of the event have top-flight talent.
At 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Christian County will take on Eastern. Christian County is the top-ranked team in the Second Region and is led by 6-1 senior guard Corey Wilford and 6-4 junior guard Shaquille Wilson. Eastern is a top-four pick in the always-tough Seventh Region and is led by junior guard DelQuan Thomas.
In the final game on Saturday, at 7 p.m., Shelby County will take on Central in a match-up of two teams that reached the State Tournament last season.
Shelby County won the Eighth Region title, but returns just one starter. That is a good one in 6-4 junior Donovan Johnson who is already drawing the attention of college coaches.
Central, the defending Sixth Region champs would normally be led by 6-4 senior Ridge Wilson, but he is still playing football. The Yellowjackets do have 5-11 senior guard Alex Morrison.
This is a money-making event for the Bullitt Central program. Admission each day will be $4 for adults and $2 for middle school age students. Those in the fourth grade and younger will be admitted free.
“It’s still the best event because of our hospitality,” Lee said. “Even the officials want to come here and work.”
Friday, November 21:
6 p.m. - Fairdale vs. Central Hardin
7:30 p.m. - BULLITT CENTRAL vs. Fern Creek
Saturday, November 22:
11:30 a.m. - Spencer County vs. Doss
1 p.m. - Green County vs. Holy Cross
2:30 p.m. - Waggener vs. Butler
4 p.m. - NORTH BULLITT vs. St. Xavier
5:30 p.m. - Christian County vs. Eastern
7 p.m. - Shelby County vs. Louisville Central