FAIRDALE - Lots of people have ‘coming out’ performances.
Bullitt East senior Elliot Young had a ‘coming out again’ moment on Friday night in the semi-finals of the King of the Bluegrass Christmas Classic at Fairdale High School. The 6-7 senior scored 25 points and pulled down five rebounds as the Chargers pulled away midway through the first half to beat Pleasure Ridge Park 74-54.
Young played in the KOB event last season when the Chargers reached the semi-finals of the prestigious event only to be sidelined the next week at a tournament in Florida with a stress fracture in his back. Young did not play the rest of the season and actually did not play basketball again until early last summer.
Young has started every game this season for the 9-0 Chargers, but this was his best showing to date.
“People have been asking when will Elliot come back,” the forward said after the game. “I just wanted to contribute. The guys were saying that they were keying on Trey (Rakes) and Rusty (Troutman) and Derek (Willis). I need to fins some plays and I did.”
Young made ten of the 15 shots he took including nailing two of three from beyond the arc.
“It’s good to see him hustling and playing well,” Bullitt East head coach Troy Barr said of last season’s tallest cheerleader. “It was just a matter of time.”
Barr said that the team has not made a conscious decision to go to Young, but that in this game that PRP was working to take other players away and that left Young free to find open spots.
“At this point it all comes down to who the other team is concentrating on and who else will score,” Barr pointed out. “They were working hard to stop Derek and Trey found Elliott. It’s good to have that option.”
Friday night’s showdown, a rematch of the last two Sixth Region finals that Bullitt East won, was also a strong outing for Rakes who turned in another strong performance against a team that was pressing all over the floor. In fact, Rakes did not turn the ball over in 30 minutes of action and also handed out seven assists while scoring eight points.
“That’s just four years of starting experience,” Barr said. “He’s been through the wars. He has won 87 games as a starter. His play is never a worry to me.”
Bullitt East also got 16 points from Troutman and 14 from Willis as the team advanced to Saturday night’s semi-finals where they were to take on Christ Presbyterian Academy from Nashville, the tournaments’ defending champion.
The Chargers never trailed in this game as they jumped out to a 9-0 lead with two baskets by Young and a three-pointer by Willis. The game was tied four times, with the final tying coming with 5:10 remaining in the second quarter at 20-20.
Bullitt East then ripped off the next 12 points with five each coming from Troutman and Willis to take control against the state’s sixth-ranked team in the pre-season coaches’ poll.
Young then opened the second half with a three-pointer and a 10-2 start to the half pushed the red and gold to a 15-point lead. Bullitt East was up 57-39 after three quarters and the biggest lead of the game came at 67-44 with five minutes remaining.
For the second straight game the Chargers shot the lights out at Fairdale. Bullitt East shot 52 percent on Friday after blistering the nets for 68 percent shooting the night before. That was a marked difference to PRP which struggled mightily from the field, shooting only 32 percent for the game.
“The kids have played a lot of games here,” Barr said. “It’s three years in this event and the guys feel at home. You have to love the atmosphere. If you don’t, you are not a player.”
The only Panther player in double figures was junior guard Antonio McDaniels with 15 points, but he made only four of his 13 shots and was three of nine on three-pointers.
The big rematch, the first regular season meeting between the two rivals in more than a decade, was played in front of a standing room only crowd at Fairdale.
King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic At Fairdale HS
PLEASURE RIDGE PARK 54 (13-14-12-15) Antonio McDaniels 15, Taywan Taylor 9, D’Angelo Hunter 4, Richard Clemons 2, Bryce Byrd 3, John-Michael Oyler 2, LaMontry Harris 6, Javonte Lavendar 7, Robert Sawyer 6.
BULLITT EAST 74 (17-17-23-17) Trey Rakes 8, Rusty Troutman 16, Derek ones 1, Hunter Noffsinger 2, Elliot Young 25, Derek Willis 14, Ezra Troutman 8