By Mitch Howard
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The Bush boys sealed the No. 2 seed in the Laurel County Elementary Basketball League with a tough 24-22 win over Cold Hill Tuesday.
The tournament should be hotly contested with unbeaten Wyan-Pine going into the tournament as the top seed. Wyan-Pine edged Bush in the regular season 33-30 in overtime and topped Cold Hill by one point. Johnson can’t be counted out either with all three of their losses in tight games with the top three seeds.
In Tuesday’s big win, Bush was led by 12 points from Clay Sizemore and eight from Tate Cunnigan. The Blue Devils seemed to be in control but had to hold off a strong Cold Hill rally.
Cold Hill held the Blue Devils to four points in the first quarter to take a 6-4 lead. Bush’s only points came on a steal to open the game and an offensive rebound to close out the first quarter. The Cubs had taken a 6-2 lead on a turnaround bank shot by Kellen Bundy. Bundy led the Cubs with nine points.
It would be the Bush defense that stepped up in the second quarter with all of Cold Hill’s scoring coming on one Bundy free throw. Cunnagin scored inside for Bush to tie the score 6-6. Then the Blue Devils went to work on the boards. Mason Kraftick scored on a put back to give Bush an 8-7 lead after the Bundy free throw. It was the sixth shot of the possession as the Blue Devils controlled the rebounding.
Kraftick was fouled on the shot, but missed the free throw. Bush again grabbed the rebound with Sizemore scoring for a 10-7 lead. A baseline jumper by Sizemore made it a 12-7 halftime lead.
Baskets by Cunnigan and Sizemore to start the second half gave the Blue Devils their biggest lead of the game at 16-7. Bush would take a five-point lead into the fourth quarter.
A pair of free throws by Bundy had Cold Hill within three-points. Sizemore answered for Bush. Landon Oakley made a tough shot in the lane that again had the Cubs within three points. A tenacious Cold Hill defense forced turnovers on the next two Bush possessions, but could not convert them to points. Sizemore and Cunnigan scored to give Bush a 24-17 lead with 1:18 to play.
A Wes Wright free throw made it a six-point game. After a Bush turnover, Wright slashed for a layup to make the score 24-20 with 45 seconds. Following a Bush miss, Trey Kissel buried a clutch shot on an assist from Wright to cut the lead to two points. Cold Hill tried to force Bush to the foul line, but time ran out before they could foul enough to force free throws.
Bush 36, Cold Hill 6
Bush wrapped up a perfect regular season with another dominating performance. The Blue Devils closest game of the season was a 28-9 win over Johnson. The most points they allowed in a game was in a 45-12 win over Sublimity. Overall Bush finished the season 10-0 by outscoring their opponents 355 to 56.
Eight players scored for Bush Tuesday, led by Maylee Philpot with 12 points. Emily Sizemore added eight points and Meg Anderson six. Anna Beth Johnson, Hannah Neal, and Ashlyn Davis scored two points each for Cold Hill.
The Laurel County Elementary League Tournament was scheduled to begin Thursday and continue through the weekend. The championship games will be Monday.