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By BILLY RUTLEDGE
The Oldham County Colonels came into Monday night’s game against Grant County as the 29th District champion.
When the dust settled, they were one step closer to the regional championship after walloping the Braves 61-44 with overbearing defense and excellent rebounding in the first round of the region tournament.
The first half was rough as both teams played tough defense, committed many turnovers and had several fouls but the Colonels gained an edge in second chance points and forced Grant County to many missed opportunities.
Senior center Garrett Masters was injured early in the first quarter and did not return for the rest of the game. To fill the role, junior forward Austin Wills stepped in and dominated the inside. Wills ended up with a team-high 19 points.
The third period was somewhat close as the Braves cut the lead to four at one point. The momentum had shifted to Grant County but senior guard Sam Gruber quickly regained the Colonels’ confidence with a couple 3-pointers and accurate free throw shooting.
Gruber finished with 15 points, the only other Oldham County player in double figures.
The fourth quarter ended up filled with double-digit fouls, back up players and chanting between the two student sections as the Colonels extended the lead to 20 points.
Safe into the next round, head coach Jason Holland relieved the starters of their duty and the game ended 61-44.
The Colonels will now play Friday at Henry County High School against Anderson County.
Oldham County has 12 straight win and find themselves in a strangely similar position to last year.
The 2011-2012 Colonels got hot late and won 18 straight before getting knocked out in the state tournament final four. Along that journey they racked up a district and regional titles.
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