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Spencer steals title in Barger Memorial tourney

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Boys' Basketball

By Mike Farner

HEBRON ESTATES - Three games in three days offered Lee Barger and Joe Pat Lee a perfect opportunity to see where their respective teams were at near the mid-way point in the season.

And after completing the inaugural Sarah Major Barger Memorial Tournament at North Bullitt, both had reasons to smile.

North Bullitt finished second

In the eight-team tournament, the host Eagles won its first two games before falling to Spencer County 71-55 in the championship game Wednesday night.

"I've been really, really happy with the guys," Barger said after a busy, yet productive, three-day stretch. "To reach that next step, we have to improve mentally."

Defeating Collegiate and St. Francis to reach the title game, North Bullitt would face a team which had lost only two games, one of which came the previous week against the Eagles.

On Wednesday, there was no doubt the better team.

"They dominated play tonight," said Barger. "No. 22 (Trey Wyatt) controlled the game tonight."

Down seven at halftime, North Bullitt could not make a run. With the inside play of Logan Dunbar (14 points) and the outside play of Ros Goodwin, Brandon Miller and Wyatt, North Bullitt had no defensive answers.

"That is a very solid team," said Barger. "They can rebound and shoot very well."

Senior James Whitfill continued his solid play with 23 points, including a three-pointer. He was the only Eagle to reach double figures.

In the opening game, North Bullitt avenged an opening-season loss to the Titans.

North Bullitt got up early and then watched as the challengers narrowed the lead to 28-27 at intermission.

In the key third quarter, seniors Kenton Aubrey and Travis Ridley took the ball to the basket and the defense forced two consecutive turnovers.

It appeared Collegiate might get back to within eight at the end of the quarter; however, the officials said a tip at the buzzer did not count.

Ridley got the Eagles off to a fast start in the fourth quarter with five points.

The lead dwindled to five points with 37 seconds left as the final quarter was a test of the free throw shooting.

The Eagles survived with a 60-56 victory.

In the second contest, St. Francis would be the foe.

North Bullitt started hot from beyond the arc and continued to hit the bucket en route to a 71-46 victory.

Brandon Goeing came off the bench to hit consecutive three-pointers midway in the first quarter to push the lead to 14-6.

The senior trio of Aubrey, Ridley and Whitfill did the damage in the second quarter - scoring 22 of the team's 23 points.

North Bullitt continued to expand the lead and Barger had an opportunity to play some of his reserves.

Overall, Barger said he was very pleased with the entire tournament.

Besides raising funds for the scholarship fund established in honor of his mother, the coach said that he got to see what players could be contributors down the stretch.

"Consistency is a key and we haven't had that out of the kids," said Barger, whose team is now 5-4 on the season, already eclipsing last year's four victories. "But we're getting much better and we're competitive."

Bullitt Central finished third

For Lee, he is very pleased with all aspects of his young Cougars' game - except one - shooting.

The Cougars are shooting, getting good looks but the ball is not finding the basket.

"It's tough when you get good shots and you don't score," said Lee. "But everyone is playing hard."

The Cougars opened tournament play with a come-from-behind victory over Kentucky Country Day, 67-60.

Down by 14 at halftime, Bullitt Central kicked it into high gear after intermission.

Sophomores Damon Shepherd and Caleb Craddock supplied the firepower in the comeback win. Craddock hit three treys en route to a 19-point game, while Shepherd hit a pair of three-pointers for a team-high 20 points.

In the second-round game, Bullitt Central got a taste of Spencer County's Dunbar. The Bears were in control the whole night for a 70-55 victory.

When Wyatt hit a three-pointer to open the game, that would be as close as the Cougars would come. Bullitt Central never led and got to within three points once more then Corey Smith's bucket brought the Cougars to within 17-14 to open the second quarter.

The young Cougars had no answer for Dunbar inside. The junior led the Bears with 24 points on the night.

Craddock led the Cougars with 18 points.

In the third-place game, Bullitt Central and St. Francis battled in a defensive struggle.

Outscoring St. Francis 13-5 in the final quarter, Bullitt Central took home the third-place trophy with a 39-35 victory.

The tide turned just before the third-quarter buzzer sounded. Down by seven, Craddock hit a three pointer to bring Bullitt Central to within 30-26.

Senior Travis Stepp put in a shot rebounded by Corey Smith, Craddock hit a free throw, Smith hit another free throw and Stepp's layup capped the run.

Stepp drilled a three-pointer with 3:45 to go to complete the run. With the 35-30 advantage, Bullitt Central had to watch Darnell Scott hit back-to-back buckets.

Smith hit a pair of clutch free throws and Craddock hit half of his four attempts to seal the victory.

For the contest, Smith, also a sophomore, collected 17 rebounds and was the player of the game for Bullitt Central.

"Corey Smith was just huge on the glass for us," said Lee. "He is playing very well."

With only two seniors and a junior, Lee said every game is a learning experience.

"It's tough at times," said Lee, whose team has already matched last season's count of four victories.

At the end of the tournament, Lee said he wanted to see what players could be counted upon to log a lot of minutes.

He was pleased with the continued improvement of Smith and Craddock and he knows that Stepp will provide 100 percent effort on defense on each play.

"We're getting better but we're looking for consistency," said Lee.

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First  Round

BULLITT CENTRAL (15-9-24-19) 67 - Damon Shepherd 20, Caleb Craddock 19, Travis Stepp 12, John Sullivan 6, Luke Whitmore 6, Corey Smith 4

Kentucky Country Day (19-19-12-10) 60 - Jason Geer 17, Ward Paschal 13, Alex Semple 10, Luke Bade 8, Martin Resinger 7, Jordan Schwartz 5

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NORTH BULLITT (16-12-10-22) 60 - Travis Ridley 19, Kenton Aubrey 14, James Whitfill 12, Tony Majors 9, Jason Sutton 4, Ryan Collins 2

Collegiate (12-15-2-27) 56 - Chris Townsend 23, Layth Masri 16, Andrew Steggeman 13, Harris Levine 3, Max Burge 1.

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Second Round

BULLITT CENTRAL (12-6-18-19) 55 - Caleb Craddock 16, Travis Stepp 9, Corey Smith 8, John Sullivan 6, Damon Shepherd 5, Miciah Ocasio 5, Jordan Peercy 4, Luke Whitmore 2.

Spencer County (17-16-17-20) 70 - Logan Dunbar 24, Trey Wyatt 18, Brandon Miller 10, Chris Dunbar 8, Ros Goodwin 5, Erico Smith 5

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NORTH BULLITT (16-23-14-18) 71 - Travis Ridley 24, James Whitfill 20, Kenton Aubrey 8, Brandon Goeing 6, Alan Crowe 3, Adrian Wethington 2, Cody Montgomery 2, Jared Slaughter 2, Derrick Bell 2, Jason Sutton 1, Tony Majors 1

St. Francis (11-19-8-10) 48 - Bonin 20, Scott 10, Martin 9, Costal 5, Patterson 4

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Third Place game

BULLITT CENTRAL (9-10-7-13) 39 - Travis Stepp 14, Caleb Craddock 9, Corey Smith 8, Miciah Ocasio 4, Damon Shepherd 2, Luke Whitmore 2

St. Francis (9-11-10-5) 35 - Scott 12, Martin 11, Patterson 5, Bonin 4, Costal 3

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Championship game

NORTH BULLITT (12-11-9-23) 55 - James Whitfill 23, Kenton Aubrey 9, Brandon Goeing 7, Travis Ridley 6, Tony Slaughter 3, Alan Crowe 3, Tony Majors 2, Jason Sutton 2

Spencer County (14-16-19-22) 71 - Logan Dunbar 16, Brandon Miller 14, Ros Goodwin 13, Trey Wyatt 12, Chris Dunbar 12, C.J. Browning 1, Jacob Hollar 1, Drew Abell 1, Brennan Smith 1