High School Basketball

High school basketball: Bullitt East, Willis bolt past Lexington Catholic minus Whitman

Lincoln County's Timmy Taylor tried to drive around the pressure defense of Harlan County's Tyler Brewer Saturday.
Lincoln County's Timmy Taylor tried to drive around the pressure defense of Harlan County's Tyler Brewer Saturday.

University of Kentucky signee Derek Willis savored the spoils of victory — a glazed doughnut — after leading Bullitt East past host Lexington Catholic 73-60 in the Dunkin' Donuts Shootout on Saturday.

Willis, a 6-foot-9 senior, had 19 points (four dunks), nine rebounds and four assists as No. 3 Bullitt East rolled by the Knights, who were missing their injured 6-9 star Jack Whitman.

The Chargers took advantage of Whitman's absence by charging to a 27-point lead in the third quarter. Lexington Catholic rallied, but the deficit was too big to overcome.

Bullitt East Coach Troy Barr didn't blame his team for the late-game letdown.

"We played really well to get that (27-point) lead. but with the schedule we play, we're not used to being up like that," Barr said. "It's just weird, especially when it's Lexington Catholic at home."

The Chargers are a veteran, balanced team. Besides Willis, they got solid performances from Bellarmine signee Rusty Troutman (18 points, seven rebounds, six assists), point guard Trey Rakes (12 points, eight assists) and Elliott Young (10 points).

Willis displayed his overall game, with Barr noting his big man's passing skills.

"I think you saw tonight how he's going to fit in at UK," Barr said. "Put those talented guys around Derek, and all the things he does offensively, especially his passing, he's going to fit in so well."

Willis said he's "always trying to get everybody involved. I love passing and getting my teammates points. I see that like hitting a shot myself."

Lexington Catholic sorely missed Whitman, who is out indefinitely after suffering a concussion against Henry Clay last weekend.

But Coach Brandon Salsman didn't see that as an excuse for the loss to Bullitt East. He said he was disappointed in his team's effort in the first half.

'We came out and tried to get in a shooting competition instead of just playing and getting after them aggressively," he said. "If we'd played as hard in the first half as we did the second, we might've made it a game."

Dillon Avare led Lexington Catholic with 13 points, but was just 3-for-11 on threes. Tom Banahan, Jarod Griffin and Michael Talbott had 10 points apiece.

Lafayette 83, Southwestern 59: Lafayette isn't in Dave Cantrall's top 25, but it sure did a number on No. 8 Southwestern.

Jackson Davis, who led Lafayette with 28 points and eight rebounds, said the Generals belong in the rankings.

"I think we're one of the best teams in the state, top five or top 10," the 6-7 junior said. "We came in here focused and showed what Lafayette can do."

Davis got plenty of help from Tranard Chester (15 points, five rebounds, four steals, three assists), Dequise Robinson (14 points) and Aaron Evans (13 points, nine rebounds).

Coach Mike Mendenhall was delighted with his team's effort after Friday night's win over Tates Creek.

"Coming into the season I knew we had the talent, but the question was consistency, whether we could play hard night in, night out.

"We showed maturity by playing hard again 24 hours after playing hard last night."

Robinson, who didn't get much playing time early in the season, has become a factor of late. Mendenall said the junior guard "brings quickness, ball-handling and an ability to get to the rim."

Mendenhall also liked the spirited play of Evans, who provided a spark in the first half against Southwestern. "When he plays hard, that's what he can give you."

Defending 12th Region champ Southwestern was led by David Kapinga's 22 points and three assists. But the Warriors' 23 turnovers (converted into 24 points by Lafayette) were especially costly.

While Coach Steve Wright credited Lafayette for its effort and athleticism, he also thought his team looked fatigued. This was Southwestern's 10th game in 17 days.

"We're a lot better basketball team than that," he said. "We looked flat, but Lafayette made us look that way because they really played well.

"Sometimes you have to go back to the drawing board and start over. We're back to square one now."

Lincoln County 60, Harlan County 54: Lincoln County's young team — four sophomores in the starting lineup — is growing up. Since losing eight of their first nine games, the Patriots have won six of seven.

"We've come a long way," Coach Jeff Jackson said. "We're excited with the progress our kids are making."

Lincoln County showed its poise by making 15 of 18 free throws in the last four minutes to hold off Harlan County.

"We didn't panic, we didn't get rattled," Jackson said.

Sophomore Jacob Conway led the Patriots with 22 points, including 13 of 14 free throws. Brandon Pittman had 12 points and B.J. Hoover had 10. They're also sophomores.

Chad Massingill had 21 points and seven rebounds for Harlan County, which lost for only the second time in 16 games this season.


BULLITT EAST (13-3) Willis 19, Ru.Troutman 18, Noffsinger 7, Young 10, Rakes 12, E.Troutman 6, Rh.Troutman 1,

LEXINGTON CATHOLIC (10-6) Avare 13, Johnson 8, Talbott 10, Griffin 10, Banahan 10, Ryan 5, Dence 4.

Bullitt East 23 15 17 18—73

Lexington Catholic 12 11 16 21—60


SOUTHWESTERN (13-4) Kapinga 22, Edwards 11, Collier 8, Gaskin 8, Schulz 4, Isaacs 3, Estes 1, Groves 2.

LAFAYETTE (6-5) Davis 28, Evans 13, Robinson 14, Chester 15, Trisko 1, Wright 1, Sweatt-Washington 6, Blakley 5.

Southwestern 18 14 15 12—59

Lafayette 20 22 22 19—83


HARLAN COUNTY (14-2) Sergent 10, Massingill 21, Caldwell 4, Miller 2, Brewer 10, Bumgardner 2, Bond 5.

LINCOLN COUNTY (7-9) Conway 22, Hoover 10, Taylor 5, Pittman 12, Lonley 3, Hill 8.

Harlan County 12 14 10 18—54

Lincoln County 17 15 7 21—60

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader