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Sweet Win: Cougars get the best of Fairdale

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Girls' Basketball

By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - How Sweet It Is! Bullitt Central’s season in the sun got a little brighter on Saturday as the Cougars rallied from a halftime deficit to beat visiting Fairdale 61-57.

The win was the first over the Bulldogs for Bullitt Central in at least as long as any of the present Cougar players have been alive. The streak goes back at least into the 1980s when Bill Schott was coaching the Cougars.

Fairdale had a 24-22 advantage at halftime before Bullitt Central outscored the Bulldogs 20-11 in the third quarter. The advantage for the maroon and gray grew to as many as 12 points in the fourth quarter before Fairdale surged back to within two points in the closing moments. Bullitt Central answered with four late free throws to seal the win.

“It was huge to us,” Bullitt Central head coach Joe Pat Lee said a few days later. The coach had never beaten the Bulldogs as a coach or when he played for Bullitt Central.

“That was the first time I know about that we have beaten them,” the coach pointed out. “I don’t know if we have ever beaten them.”

Lee, whose team had a five game winning streak snapped a few nights earlier against Pleasure Ridge Park, didn’t think that his squad had their best performance of the season, but they battled hard enough to get the victory.

“It was a great win for us, but we don’t feel we played that well,” Lee noted. “We didn’t shoot well, but we battled hard and got the win.”

Bullitt Central started the game playing man-to-man defense with the plan of stopping certain Fairdale scorers. The Bulldogs spread the Cougar defense out and found the open man inside. In the second half, Bullitt Central switched to a zone defense with much better results.

“We gave up too much inside,” Lee pointed out. “Then we went zone and the kids did well with that. That helped us get the big lead.”

Fairdale did not commit a foul in the third quarter and that was one reason that Bullitt Central did not shoot free throws until late. The Cougars only had eight free throws in the game, but converted four of five in the final period. Fairdale was 12 of 15 at the foul line.

Bullitt Central only had five players score and that included only three starters. Ryan Schnellenberger drained five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 24 points while Caleb Craddock had 18 points and Damon Shepherd had 10.

Cory Thomas paced Fairdale with 15 points and Boo Crabtree had 14 points, but he only had four points in the second half. Fairdale’s leading scorer for the season, Josh Payne, was held to eight points and only three points in the second half.

Bullitt Central was at home earlier this week to play Oldham County. That was the team’s final tune-up before a key 24th District game on Friday at home against North Bullitt.

 

At Bullitt Central

FAIRDALE 57 (13-11-11-22) Longacre 4, Rudolph 10, Payne 8, Thomas 15, Crabtree 14, Lowry 4.

BULLITT CENTRAL 61 (12-10-20-19) Caleb Craddock 18, Ryan Schnellenberger 24, Damon Shepherd 10, John Sullivan 3, Aaron Duckett 6.

 

BC’s Incredible Win

Even during the best of times, basketball coaches can almost always find something that their team can improve on at halftime of any game.

On Saturday, Bullitt Central head coach Bryan Bates was hard-pressed to find even the most miniscule reason to correct his team. That is what happens when the Lady Cougars had a 40-0 lead over visiting Fairdale at halftime.

It didn’t get any better in the second half as Bullitt Central pushed out to an incredible 58-2 advantage before coasting to a 64-9 victory against their former 24th District rivals.

Fairdale started the season with three wins over the first three weeks of the season, but then the team did not play any games over the holidays. In the first two games back in action, the Lady Bulldogs were beaten by Butler 84-4 before the crushing loss against Bullitt Central.

After the loss to Bullitt Central, Fairdale canceled a game scheduled for Monday night against Bullitt East.

Bullitt Central got 20 points from senior Kaitlyn McKinght and another 13 from fellow senior Seaera Minyard.

The Lady Cougars traveled to Jeffersontown on Tuesday as the team’s final tune-up before a very important 24th District game against North Bullitt on Friday in Shepherdsville.

 

At Bullitt Central

FAIRDALE 9 (0-0-2-7) Cleaver 4, Alford 2, Weston 2, Keown 1.

BULLITT CENTRAL 64 (21-19-18-6) Kayla Riggs 6, Kristen Collins 4, Seaera Minyard 13, Kaitlyn McKnight 20, Tori Boston 3, Casey Renfrow 2, Chasity Hodge 7, Haley Johns 5, Emily Ratliff 4.