By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Bush and Johnson boys battled for the No. 2 spot in the Laurel County Elementary League Tuesday with the Blue Devils holding on for a hard-fought 33-29 win. Unbeaten Wyan-Pine Grove appears destined for the No. 1 seed in next week’s Elementary Tournament, but Johnson, Bush, and Cold Hill all had an eye on the No. 2 seed. Cold Hill will play at Bush Tuesday in the game that will probably decide the seeding.
The Bush-Johnson showdown was close throughout, although the Blue Devils never trailed. The game’s only tie was at 2-2 on an inside basket by Conner McKeehan. McKeehan would lead all scorers with 18 points.
After the early tie, the Blue Devils reeled off eight straight points. Clay Sizemore played a big role in the Bush scoring spurt. After Will Hellard banked in a shot, Sizemore made a pair of free throws. Sizemore then set up Tate Cunnigan with a long assist. Sizemore made it a 10-2 lead with a jumper just inside the three-point line. Sizemore led the Blue Devils with 16 points.
McKeehan rallied Johnson with back-to-back baskets on offensive rebounds. A free throw by Tristan Hall made it a 10-7 game with 4:10 in the half. The Bush defense would tighten and allow just one free throw the remainder of the half. The Blue Devils led 16-8 at halftime.
Johnson got as close as 18-14 in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Andrew Italiano. Sizemore led Bush back to an eight-point lead. It was a Cunnagin basket on an assist from Hellard that gave the Blue Devils a 26-18 lead with 1:30 in the third quarter. The Eagles answered with a drive by McKeehan. Cody Gilbert used a head fake to find driving room on the baseline to pull Johnson within 26-22. Bush led 28-22 after three quarters.
The fourth quarter became a free throw contest with Bush stepping to the line 11 times. Bush held the Eagles without a field goal in the fourth quarter until the final minute as they opened a 33-25 lead. Two late baskets by Toby Fields were not enough to rally the Eagles.
Bush 28, Johnson 9
The final score didn’t look close, but it was one of the closest games this season for unbeaten Bush. Five different players scored for Bush, led by Maylee Philpot with 10 points and Emily Sizemore with eight.
Four different players scored in the first quarter for Bush as they jumped to a quick 8-0 lead. After a free throw by Johnson’s Kristen McKeehan, Bush would score eight more points for a 16-1 lead. McKeehan led Johnson with seven points.
Bush led 20-3 at halftime with Sizemore already putting eight points in the scorebook.
A put back by Philpot to open the second half boosted Bush a 22-3 lead.
Johnson would get a pair of free throws from McKeehan and a bank shot from Emily Dotson to make it a 22-7 game. Philpot scored the next six points as Bush opened their largest lead of the game at 28-7.