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MOUNT WASHINGTON - Two months ago it took an overtime period for the Bullitt East Chargers to pull out a 68-58 victory over Bullitt Central in the first meeting of the season between the bitter rivals in Shepherdsville.
On Friday, the rematch in Mount Washington didn’t need any extra time. In fact, Bullitt East led 31-21 at halftime and despite some strong play by the Cougars early in the third quarter, the Chargers were ahead 48-38 heading into the fourth quarter and never let Bullitt Central get closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The win assured Bullitt East (16-7) of the number two seed in the upcoming 24th District Tournament while Bullitt Central will have the number four seed.
In the first meeting, Bullitt Central (7-15) tried to take Bullitt East center Corey Washburn out of the game an to some extent that worked. In the rematch, the Cougars focused on Hayden Sweat. The high-scoring junior guard was held to nine points, but Washburn was too much inside, finishing with 23 points and nine rebounds.
In fact, Bullitt East forward Chase Troutman scored 13 points and led his team with ten rebounds as the Chargers controlled the paint.
“East is a good team,” Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee said after meeting with his team. “You have to give up something inside or out. I’m proud of our kids the way they stepped up and battled.”
The game was somewhat closer than the final score. Bullitt Central pulled within 39-38 late in the third quarter before Bullitt East scored the final nine points of the period. The Cougars were still within 52-45 with four minutes to play before an 11-1 run broke the game open.
“We had a couple of stretches with mental mistakes,” Lee pointed out. “We would cut it down but then make a mistake or miss a few shots. We only had 14 turnovers but some of them came at crucial times.”
Bullitt East head coach Troy Barr has seen his team have bad performances against Bullitt Central in late season match-ups before and he wasn’t completely happy with his team’s performance in this game. The coach had missed practice the previous day with strep throat and the report from his assistants was that it was the worst practice of the season.
“I won’t take anything away from Bullitt Central,” Barr said. “Our intensity was not where it needed to be. I thought our effort was poor. We tell them that you play like you practice and we did tonight.”
Barr also felt that Bullitt Central put a lot more effort into stopping Sweat in this game than the first meeting.
“Bullitt Central had a different game plan,” the coach said. “They were focused on stopping (Washburn) in the first game and tonight it was Hayden.
“I know it is a cliché, but you have to take what they give you and we did,” Barr noted. “Our kids did a good job recognizing that.”
Sweat’s nine points was his lowest output of the season, but Washburn and Troutman made up for that as they made 16 of 23 shots and pulled down 19 rebounds between themselves.
Bullitt East also got 11 points from Kory Caufield off the bench including the sophomore making all eight of his free throw attempts. Trey Rakes scored ten points including a key three-pointer after Bullitt Central had cut the gap to 52-45 in the fourth quarter.
Bullitt Central got 13 points each from Caleb Craddock and Travis Stepp along with nine points from Jordan Peercy.
Bullitt East will play its final district game of the regular season on Friday when they play host to North Bullitt. The game will also be homecoming at Bullitt East as well as the Insight Game of the Week.
At Bullitt East
BULLITT CENTRAL 52 (11-10-17-14) Travis Stepp 13, Jordan Peercy 9, Damon Shepherd 7, Ryan Schnellenberger 2, Caleb Craddock 13, Miciah Ocasio 3, John Sullivan 5.
BULLITT EAST 69 (15-16-17-21) Trey Rakes 10, Rusty Troutman 3, Hayden Sweat 9, Kory Caufield 11, Chase Troutman 13, Corey Washburn 23.