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Second quarter surge pushes BE past NB

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Duvall scores 27 in showdown

By Mike Farner

 MOUNT WASHINGTON – Not even Mother Nature could stop the most anticipated intra-county game of the season

     Despite the fact that Bullitt County students did not attend school at all last week, the girls’ basketball game on Wednesday with North Bullitt visiting Bullitt East went on (as did all games the rest of the week) as scheduled. Despite the decision on the game being played not being made until almost noon, it was a loud and passionate crowd that took in the game.

     And it was a close game into the second quarter. North Bullitt led 16-11 following a long jumper by Erin Dolan, but that was the high water mark for the Lady Eagles.

     Bullitt East outscored their county rivals 22-2 over the final six minutes of the first half blowing into a 35-18 halftime lead that was more than North Bullitt could overcome in the second half. Bullitt East went on to lead by as many as 23 points in the second half before picking up the 66-45 victory.

     Bullitt East’s big surge was keyed by three-pointers from seniors Emily Fryman and Courtney Pfister and highlighted the strong play of Lady Charger freshmen Lindsey Duvall and Alyssa Peak. The two combined to score 23 of Bullitt East’s 35 first-half points led by the 15 from Duvall.

     This was a battle between most certainly two of the top five teams in the Sixth Region this season. The argument could be made that Bullitt East and North Bullitt are the top two threats to knocking off Butler, the state’s top team, when the Sixth Region Tournament gets underway in March.

     While it was important to get this game played since a make-up date this late in the season would have been almost impossible to find, it did come during a stretch of time when neither team is in a comfortable rhythm. Neither team had practiced on Monday and had been in the gym only a short time on Tuesday before finding out they would even be allowed to play until the middle of the day on Wednesday.

     Still, it was an impressive win for Bullitt East, the state’s ninth ranked team, as they got back in the winning way after falling in the quarter-finals of the Girls’ LIT the previous weekend.

     “We had a big second quarter,” Bullitt East head coach Chris Stallings said of his 300th career win at the school. “We changed our defense a little there and had a good run.

     “It just goes back to shooting,” the coach added. “I thought we shot it well. Then the defense changed and forced a good pace for us and we passed the ball well in the second quarter.”

     Bullitt East (17-4), which shot below 30 percent in recent losses to Sacred Heart and Franklin County, was much better in this game, nearly hitting the 50 percent mark by making 27 of its 56 shots.

     North Bullitt (14-4) made only 17 of 44 shots and hit just 25 percent on three-pointers as they went four of 16.

     It was a disappointing set of circumstances for the Lady Eagles as they have not beaten Bullitt East since Feb. 3, 2006, a stretch that has included 18 straight losses. They thought this was the best chance in a number of years.

     “We didn’t come out ready to play in the second quarter,” North Bullitt head coach Amber Courtney said after emerging from her team’s locker room. “We played well in the first quarter. Then we reverted back to our old ways and didn’t play well.

     “What worked we didn’t continue to do,” the coach added. “We have to learn to follow through with a whole game instead of a quarter.”

     Bullitt East has been struggling with its shooting over the previous two weeks so Courtney wanted her team to take a step back to the basket and make the Lady Chargers beat them from the perimeter. That is what happened in the first quarter, but when the home team turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, that pushed the pace of the game into an area where the Lady Eagles were not comfortable.

     “We were just trying to pack it in,” Courtney said. “We did a good job of rebounding in the first quarter. But then we didn’t do that in the second quarter. We stopped playing defense and they got easy looks.”

     Duvall controlled the pace of play in this game, scoring 27 points. Peak and fellow freshman Raegan Williams each added eight points to the total.

     “Lindsey has been consistent all season and that has to continue,” Stallings said. “Tonight the different from other games was that we got more kids involved. Our scoring tonight was a lot like it was over Christmas and right after. That’s important moving forward.”

     North Bullitt was led by sophomore Katie Downey with 14 points while senior Savannah Morrison collected 11 points.

     Bullitt East was set to play on Saturday as a final tune-up before they head to Shepherdsville on Tuesday for a showdown with Bullitt Central. The Lady Chargers will then be at home on Thursday to celebrate homecoming with a contest against Jeffersontown.

     North Bullitt, after all the games that have been cancelled this season, will try to make up for lost time with four straight games starting on Wednesday of this week when they play host to another top-20 team, Eastern. The green and gold will then host Pleasure Ridge Park on Thursday as part of homecoming before playing at John Hardin on Friday and at Fort Knox on Saturday.

 

Wednesday at Bullitt East

     NORTH BULLITT 45 (11-7-12-15) Savannah Morrison 11, Katie Downey 14, Erin Dolan 4, Rachel Badgett 4, Megan Goeing 5, Lauren Deel 2, Shaina Blankenship 1, Hailey Free 4.

     BULLITT EAST 66 (9-26-16-15) Emily Fryman 6, Courtney Pfister 3, Lindsey Duvall 27, Alyssa Peak 8, Kirstie Henn 5, Taylor Blain 3, Mackenzie Bass 4, Raegan Williams 8, Kelli Lutes 2.