Baliey Rakes’ runner with 10 seconds left capped an amazing comeback by Bullitt East, which climbed out of a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to knock off Covington Holmes 67-65 in a first-round King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic game on Saturday at Fairdale High School.
The Chargers (5-1), ranked No. 16 in The Courier-Journal’s preseason coaches’ poll, trailed by 59-45 with 6:34 left in the game after a James Bolden layup. They still trailed by 11 with less than three minutes remaining, until a three-point play by Garrett Wilson put the deficit at 63-55 with 2:38 left.
Tyler Sharpe led the Chargers with 19 points, scoring eight of them in the final 2:28, including a three-point play with 1:27 left that tied the game at 65.
Bullitt East had a chance to win after Holmes’ Marcus Mullis missed a free-throw attempt in the final minute and Brandon Klefot pulled the rebound. After a timeout, Rakes, who finished with six points and six assists, had the ball. With Sharpe in the corner, he used his fellow guard as a decoy and drove against Bolden to hit the go-ahead bucket.
“I was looking at the rim the whole time,” he said.
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Bolden, who finished with 28 points, seven assists and six rebounds, had a chance to win the game for the Bulldogs (4-2), but the West Virginia-commit’s 3-pointer was off the mark.
Bullitt East employed a press in the final quarter to help spur the comeback. The Chargers forced six turnovers in the final period, including five in the final four minutes.
“We hadn’t had a signature win,” coach Bobby Blackburn said. “That’s a signature win for us. That’s one we can build upon. It couldn’t have happened on a bigger stage.”
Wilson came off the bench to score 16 for Bullitt East, and Klefot added 10 points and eight rebounds. Rod Avery added 15 for Holmes.
The Chargers now get to play Washington St. Johns in a quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Holmes will play Ballard in a consolation round match at the same time.
Holmes (4-2) – Bolden 28, McClendon 9, Avery 15, Greene 1, Mullins 4, Englemo 3, Arnold 5.
Bullitt East (5-1) – Sharpe 19, Rakes 6, Wheeler 5, Klefot 10, Wilson 16, Farris 4, Bacon 7.
3-point goals – Bolden 5, McClendon 2, Englemon, Sharpe 4, Wheeler, Klefot 2, Wilson.
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