Titans top Chargers with tip

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Their first home loss since 2010

By Josh Cook

The Collins boys’ basketball team avenged one of its two losses – and ended Bullitt East’s 36-game home winning streak in the process ­– in dramatic fashion Friday night.

Ralphie Stone’s tip-in with 4.3 second left lifted the Titans to a 56-55 triumph over the Chargers in Mount Washington.

It was Collins’ sixth consecutive victory, since Bullitt East beat the Titans, 69-62, on Dec. 28 in the winners’ bracket semifinals of the Lloyd Memorial Invitational Tournament, and the Chargers’ first loss at home in four years.

Junior point guard Brent Kidwell, whose miss Stone tipped in in the final seconds, scored a game-high 21 points, including 14 in the second half and eight in the final 8 minutes.  

“Kidwell took the game over,” Collins Coach Chris Gaither said.

Kidwell hit eight 2-pointers, one 3-pointer and was 2-for-2 from the free throw line. His backcourt mate, junior Deion Cochran, added 17 points on the strength of five 3-pointers, and Stone, the Titans’ leading scorer, contributed 11 points – eight in the fourth quarter.

Stone was one of several starters to get into early foul trouble as Bullitt East (15-3) led, 10-7, at the end of the first quarter.

The Titans (16-2), however, responded in the second period, led by Cochran and reserve senior center Caleb Vogel. Cochran scored 11 points (he hit a trio of 3-pointers), and Vogel contributed five as Collins outscored the Chargers, 19-15, during the second 8 minutes to lead, 26-25, at intermission.

The Chargers battled back to win the third quarter and carry a 41-37 lead into the final period, when Collins outscored them, 19-14, in the fourth led by Kidwell and Stone.

“I just started getting to the rim,” Kidwell said. “They played tight [defense], so that left the lane wide-open.”

The Titans tied the score early in the fourth quarter and it was back-and-forth from there. Cochran’s 3-pointer, off a kickout from Kidwell, put Collins up one with 53 seconds to play. Then, after Stone missed the front end of a one-and-one, Bullitt East’s Bailey Rakes hit two free throws with 10 seconds left, giving the Chargers a 55-54 lead. Kidwell then drove into the lane and put up a shot. It missed, but Stone rose above a crowd to tip-in the game-winner.  

Bullitt East sophomore guard Tyler Sharpe missed a desperation 3 at the buzzer.

“Seeing how much improvement we’ve made from the first time we played them, it’s drastic,” Kidwell said. 

One way in which the Titans improved was guarding the 3-point line. Bullitt East hit nine shots from long range in late December. This time around the Chargers, who hadn’t lost at home since falling, 80-59, to Iroquois on Jan. 5, 2010, hit just five 3s.

“We were communicating better on defense,” Kidwell said. “We were switching all screens.”

Sharpe, who hit three 3-pointers and had 27 points in the first meeting, tallied just 10 points this time around.

“Every day we’re getting better on defense,” Kidwell said.  

Collins, which hosted Woodford County on Tuesday night, next hosts Louisville Eastern in its Homecoming Saturday night.