Boys Basketball: South Oldham defeats Walton Verona in Eighth Region tournament

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By Sam Draut

South Oldham used a fourth quarter surge to advance to the semi-finals of the Eighth Region tournament. The Dragons defeated District 32 winner Walton Verona 76-64 after going on a 12-1 run in the first three minutes of the final period of play.

Devin Young scored a team-high 20 points and Jo Griffin added 16 for the Dragons.

With South Oldham leading 50-49 to begin the fourth quarter, Dyllon Hoover made a 3-pointer on the Dragons’ opening possession. Peyton Hicks, who finished with 12 points, followed with a basket and Hoover added another score on a driving layup, forcing a Walton Verona timeout.

After the timeout, Aaron Franklin made a 3-pointer to extend South Oldham’s lead to double-digits for the first time. Young added an basket on an offensive rebound to complete the Dragons’ run. Franklin finished with 12 points.

The Dragons got a scoring boost from their bench as Hicks and Luke Morrison scored 12 and 9 points, respectively. Hicks made two jumpers in the first quarter to get going.

"I had a lot of confidence when first one went down, it energizes me to hit the next one," Hicks said. "My teammates get into it and they get me good looks."

South Oldham coach Steve Simpson said his team switched defenses which helped create turnovers early in the fourth quarter.

"That kind of slowed the ball down and we got a couple steals off it," Simpson said. "We built a little bit of momentum at that point."

Walton Verona scored 10 of the game’s first 15 points, but South Oldham rallied from the early five-point deficit on two free throws by Devin Young and a 3-pointer from Morrison.

After trailing by one point to begin the second quarter, the Dragons scored seven unanswered points to take a 23-17 lead. The Dragons’ baskets came in transition, the first score starting from an outlet pass from Young which ended in a completion of a three-point play by Griffin. Peyton Hicks stole the ball in Walton Verona’s backcourt and assisted on a layup to Young.

South Oldham will play Anderson County in the Eighth Region semi-final at 8:00 p.m. The Dragons will have a light practice tomorrow before preparing for Anderson County, a team the Dragons defeated in December 81-70.

"We will watch a lot of tape and try to get as prepared as we can," Simpson said.