High school basketball: Bullitt East able to top Henry Clay despite Willis suspension

mmaloney@herald-leader.comNovember 29, 2012 

Thursday's aptly named Mr. Basketball Classic doubleheader at Tates Creek almost had 'em all.

Five of the state's top 15 players — according to a Herald-Leader pre-season coaches' poll — were to be represented.

There was one problem, though.

Top-rated Derek Willis, a Kentucky signee from Bullitt East, served the first game of a two-game suspension after being ejected from Monday's season opener against Lafayette.

With Willis watching, others filled the void.

Bellarmine University signee Rusty Troutman scored 19 points to lead Bullitt East, No. 2 in the Herald-Leader pre-season poll, to a 58-55 victory over No. 5 Henry Clay.

In the nightcap, No. 13 Montgomery County expanded a four-point halftime lead to 19 through three quarters en route to a 72-58 win over Tates Creek.

The top 15 players who played: No. 7 Omar Prewitt of Montgomery County, Nos. 8 and 14 Trey Grundy and Jordan Green of Henry Clay, and No. 13 Troutman.

Bullitt East 58, Henry Clay 55: Trailing 29-26 at halftime, the Chargers uncorked a 22-6 knockout punch in the third quarter.

Troutman, a 6-foot-5 senior, scored seven of his 19 points during the third.

"That's a tough task," Troutman said of playing without Willis. "... They're a tough basketball team, and we came out with a win.

"We rebounded well. We didn't rebound as well as we could, but we played hard and got physical with them and made them a little bit rattled, made them take tough shots."

Trey Rakes added 12 points for the Chargers (2-0). Ezra Troutman grabbed nine of Bullitt's 33 rebounds.

Trey Grundy paced Henry Clay (1-1) with 16 points, Teddy Ware had 12 and Jordan Green scored nine. Grundy and Green each had nine of the Blue Devils' 38 rebounds.

"Rusty Troutman is our heart and soul," Bullitt East Coach Troy Barr said. "Derek Willis is a great player — I'm not taking anything away from him; he makes us a much better team — but our kids (stepped up) tonight and got it done. I'm proud of them."

"We had to change some things because so much of our stuff goes through Derek ... but the kids did it."

Henry Clay battled back from a six-point deficit early in the second quarter to lead at intermission.

Trailing 48-35 through three quarters, the Blue Devils came as close as 52-50 when Grundy threw down a dunk with 48 seconds left.

East countered with two free throws each by Hunter Noffsinger and Rakes to make it a six-point lead.

The closest the Devils came after that was when Green drained a three-pointer at the buzzer.

"I think a lot of it was we just got careless with the basketball, turned it over, took a lot of jump shots," Devils Coach Daniel Brown said of the third quarter. "And when the jump shot's not going, we've got to figure a way to get to the free-throw line. Then when we get to the free-throw line, we've got to cash them in. ... It was a good battle test. Bullitt East is a top five team with or without Willis, and they're the two-time Sixth Region champions with a lot of wins under their belt. So I feel good about our team and where we're going."

Montgomery Co. 72, Tates Creek 58: Bryan Wallace powered the Indians with 28 points on 8-for-17 field-goal shooting, including 2-for-7 from three-point range and 10-for-11 at the foul line.

Prewitt finished with 18 points, six coming on dunks, and grabbed six rebounds.

Tates Creek sophomore Jordan Fucci totaled 17 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks. Ian Davis added 13 points for the Commodores (0-2), while Desmond Duke and Vincent Mattox scored 10 each.

Montgomery (2-0), with 14 turnovers to Creek's 29, converted that to a 29-12 advantage on the scoreboard.

BULLITT EAST (2-0) — Rakes 12, Ru. Troutman 19, Young 9, Noffsinger 7, Embry 2, E. Troutman 2, D. Jones 7. Totals 22-53 10-12 58.

HENRY CLAY (1-1) — Grundy 16, Green 9, Tisdale 6, Newby 4, Cunningham 4, Ware 12, Tichenor 4, Setzer 0. Totals 21-55 9-17 55.

Bullitt East 14 12 22 10 — 58

Henry Clay 10 19 6 20 — 55

Three-point goals — BE 4-14 (Rakes 0-2, Ru. Troutman 2-7, Young 1-2, Noffsinger 0-1, D. Jones 1-2); HC 4-15 (Green 1-3, Tisdale 0-1, Cunningham 0-3, Ware 3-7, Setzer 0-1).

MONTGOMERY CO. (2-0) — T. Jones 8, Prewitt 18, C. Hall 0, D. Jones 7, Wallace 28, H. Hall 10, S. Combs 1, Walker 0. Totals 25-65 17-27 72.

TATES CREEK (0-2) — McFarland 0, Duke 10, Mattox 10, Love 4, Fucci 17, Polus 2, Shelton 2, I. Davis 13. Totals 19-46 18-27 58.

Montgomery County 21 15 24 12 — 72

Tates Creek 15 17 9 17 — 58

Three-point goals — MC 5-20 (T. Jones 1-3, Walker 0-2, Prewitt 2-6, D. Jones 0-2, Wallace 2-7); TC 2-7 (McFarland 0-1, Mattox 1-3, Fucci 0-1, I. Davis 1-2).

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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