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If the Oldham County basketball team was supposed to feel intimidated Tuesday night, someone forgot to tell the Colonels.
Welcoming Bullitt East to Buckner, the boys in blue gave the Chargers all they could handle, going toe-to-toe with the state’s No. 4-ranked team for the better part of the game before falling 50-43.
No player was bigger in that effort that senior forward Garrett Masters, who led the Colonels with 10 points.
Matched with University of Kentucky signee Derek Willis, a player ranked in the top 100 in the nation by 247sports.com, Masters held his own for much of the game, limiting Willis to 8 first-half points.
“You hear a lot that Derek can’t play at UK and Derek can’t this but he can,” Oldham County Coach Jason Holland said. “Garrett is just getting better. He’s a young basketball player. Garrett is coming on; he’s doing nothing but improving.”
That didn’t stop other Charger players from making a mark however, as Bullitt East’s lead ballooned to as much as 13 late in the third quarter following a burst from Rusty Troutman.
The Colonels managed to find an answer though, opening up a 18-8 run of their own — capped by a huge 3-pointer from senior guard Sam Gruber — to cut the deficit to 44-41 with under five minutes to play.
But then Bullitt East shut the Colonels down, closing the game with a 6-2 run.
Still, though the game didn’t end quite the way he hoped, Holland said he couldn’t be prouder of his team.
“We talked about the effort we played with Saturday and how we were going to have to come back and play with that kind of effort again,” Holland said. “They’re a very good basketball team. They’re a team that can cut the nets down in Rupp Arena. Defensively, I thought we were very good — but in the first quarter, we played nervous and got down. That’s what cost us the game.”
The way they played the rest of the way should give them plenty to look forward to as they move forward though.
“It does give us great confidence,” Masters said. “We’re probably going to see them again if we go to the state tournament and we know that we can beat them if we have to.”
The Colonels will return to the floor at 7:30 p.m. Friday as they host Trimble County in their first district game of the season.
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Bullitt East 15 9 12 14 — 50
Oldham County 7 10 12 14 — 43
Oldham County (3-2) — Masters 10, Gruber 9, Kopp 9, Lape 8, Hicks 4, Johnson 3.
FG: 9 3P: 6 FT: 5-9 RB: N/A TO: N/A
Bullitt East (6-0)— Willis 19, R. Troutman 17, Noffsinger 7, TRakes 5, E. Troutman 2.
FG: 13 3P: 3 FT: 13-19 RB: N/A TO: N/A