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One weekend before they head to the sunshine of San Diego, the Oldham County Colonels will host the Best in Hoops Tournament this weekend.
The tournament brings together eight state teams for three days of competition.
Teams are first put into two pools of four. After playing round robin pool schedules, teams then play a representative from the opposite pool based on seeding.
This will be the third year OC has hosted the event. The Colonels went 4-0 in the event last year, beating Bracken County, Southern, Central and DuPont Manual.
“We just wanted to get home games against some good teams,” OC coach Coy Zerhusen said. “It’s an opportunity to put something on for our home crowd.”
OC has given its fans a wild first month of the season.
The Colonels were 5-0 as of the Era’s press deadline, but trailed at halftime in four of those contests.
OC’s most recent thriller was a 57-55 win over Pikeville Saturday thanks to a buzzer-beater by sophomore forward Jacob Bates.
“We’re finding ways to win games,” Zerhusen said. “We’re making plays when we need to and we’re playing hard. That’s what I’m most proud of.”
The Colonels have an interesting draw in this year’s Best in Hoops Tournament.
Their first game comes at 9:15 p.m. Friday against Owensboro out of Region 3.
The Red Devils are 1-2 but have a well-established tradition as one of the best programs from the western part of the state.
Zerhusen said Owensboro will “probably be the best team we’ve played so far.”
“They’re pretty good,” Zerhusen said. “They’ve got some good size… They’ve lost a couple but they’ve played some good teams.
“They start a bunch of juniors but they all played as sophomores. So they’re an athletic, good-sized team.”
OC will play another late game Friday night, hosting Fern Creek at 9:15 p.m. The Tigers, out of Region 6, are 4-0 thus far.
The Colonels will wrap up pool play at 10 a.m. Saturday against Western, another Region 6 school.
Coach Terrence Moorman’s Warriors are 2-0 this season.
Waiting from the opposite pool will be Iroquois, Manual, Shelby County or Boyd County.
Playing in this type of tournament, where a team plays against opponents from across the state in a short number of days, is important preparation for a possible state tournament, Zerhusen said.
“We always try to tell them how to prepare, how to get their rest, be mentally focused,” Zerhusen said. “It is tough. It’s a grind. But it’s good for them.”
The Colonels will spend next weekend in another tournament atmosphere, albeit one 2,000 miles from home.
OC leaves the day after Christmas for a tournament in San Diego. While there, the Colonels will see teams from California, Utah and Washington.
Players and coaches are looking forward to the trip, Zerhusen said, but they’re not looking past this weekend’s opportunity.
“They’ve done a good job so far of playing game-by-game,” he said. “We’ve talked about not living on 5-0, of still having the mindset of getting better each game.
“That’s how we’ve been looking at it. These games right now are preparing us for when we play South and when we play North and then our district and region games at the end. Each one’s important and each one now is going to teach us a little more about ourselves.”