His team down 10 points at halftime and shooting a dismal 22.7 percent, Bullitt East High School boys’ basketball coach Bob Blackburn didn’t feel the need for some rah-rah speech.
“I don’t think it was as much frustration as it was disappointment in not executing and not doing what we worked on,” Blackburn said. “I said, ‘Fellas, we’ve worked on this and we know what to do. So let’s just do it.'”
And the Chargers listened.
Bullitt East shot 58.8 percent in the second half, hitting 6 of 10 3-pointers, and rallied for a 52-43 victory over visiting DeSales on Wednesday in a Sixth Region Tournament quarterfinal.
Rhett Troutman had 15 points and five assists and Tyler Sharpe added 14 points as Bullitt East finally figured out the Colts’ 3-2 zone defense.
“We put Rhett in the middle of the zone, and that left me and Bailey (Rakes) open and we got hot,” Sharpe said. “(DeSales’) defense was moving quick in the first half, and we weren’t attacking it well. We were just settling for threes.
“In the second half we were dishing it and moving the ball, and that helped a lot.”
Bullitt East improved to 25-7 and advanced to face county rival Bullitt Central (19-9) in Friday’s 7:45 p.m. regional semifinal at Valley. Bullitt East beat Bullitt Central 63-44 on Feb. 11.
Chase Shellman had 20 points and nine rebounds to lead DeSales (20-10), which was playing in the regional tournament for the first time since 2006. The Colts finished just 2 of 20 from 3-point range.
“If we go 6 for 20, we’re right there,” Colts coach John Mingus said. “Defensively, we had them where we wanted them.”
DeSales put together a 15-1 run to take a 22-9 lead on Shellman’s basket with 3:21 left in the first half. The Colts led 24-14 at the break.
But the Chargers hit six of their first seven shots in the third quarter, putting together a 15-2 run for a 29-26 lead.
“In the first half we limited them to one shot, and when we got a bucket we could get back and set up our 3-2,” Mingus said. “In the second half we missed a lot of good looks, and that allowed them to get out in transition. That’s where they’re best.”
Shellman’s 3-pointer helped DeSales take a 31-30 advantage to the fourth quarter, but the Chargers dominated from there.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Sharpe and Rakes gave Bullitt East a 39-31 lead. Nathan Roush’s layup pulled the Colts within 39-36, but a Brandon Klefot 3-pointer at the 2:43 mark gave the Chargers a 42-36 edge.
DeSales never got closer than five points the rest of the way.