Colonels, Mustangs try again Thursday

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By Brad Stephens

Don’t blame North Oldham and Oldham County for getting a little stir-crazy.

The Mustangs and Colonels were slated to play each other last Friday in Buckner in a game with huge District 29 ramifications. That was postponed because of winter weather and rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at OC.

But more winter weather hit earlier this week, causing the cancellation of OC’s home game Tuesday against Collins and North’s road game Tuesday at Anderson County.
If the weather holds off and the Mustangs and Colonels are indeed able to meet Thursday, it’ll mark OC and North’s first games in nine days.

“That’s something that we can’t control, the weather,” OC coach Coy Zerhusen said. “I think with this game, our preparation’s been focused more toward us, what we’re going to do rather than what North’s going to do.

“So that’s helped us a little bit. With the schedule being the way it’s been we’ve really been able to focus on what we’ve needed to work on.”

OC (12-5, 1-1 district) will be playing its final regular season district game, while North (8-8, 0-0) will be playing its first.

“It seems like it’s been a long road since we’ve played a district game,” Mustangs coach Chris Stobaugh said. “Our guys are really amped up for it, I’m sure.”

Because of its loss to South Jan. 10, OC needs a win Thursday to keep its slim chances of a district tournament No. 1 seed alive. If the Colonels were to beat North Thursday and then the Mustangs were to beat South Oldham Feb. 4 and Trimble County Feb. 6, then North, OC and South would all finish 2-1 in the district.

Should North win Thursday, it will control its destiny in the District 29 race. Meanwhile the Colonels would likely be guaranteed a spot in the 2 vs. 3 district tournament game, where they’d face either North or South.

Oldham County schools have a firm grip on the four-team district. South ranks No. 1 in the Courier-Journal’s Region 8 rankings, followed by OC at No. 3 and North at No. 6. Therefore there’s a lot of incentive for county teams to meet No. 14 Trimble in the 1 vs. 4 game of the district tournament rather than have to face each other in the 2 vs. 3 game.

Last February North and OC met in one of those games and the Mustangs came up short, 57-40, ending their season.

There will be a few key matchups to watch during the game.

One will be up top, where junior point guards Hayden Hawes (OC) and Jon Jon Henry (North) will square off. Henry has given the Mustangs an added threat in his first year playing at North, Zerhusen said.

“He gives them somebody that controls the tempo a bit, an athletic presence at that guard spot they really haven’t had the last couple of years,” Zerhusen said.

Another will be on the wing, where the Mustangs will look to contain OC forward Austin Wills.

“He presents a matchup problem for us,” Stobaugh said of Wills. “We’re going to put someone a little different on him that I think most people wouldn’t expect us to put on him… He loves the corner 3 so we have to do a good job of getting him off that corner 3. And we’ll have to make him do some things he’s not used to doing.”

A third matchup will be in the post, where OC’s big men Austin Perkins and Jacob Bates must deal with the size of North’s Adam Klingeman and Justin Cundiff.

“Austin isn’t as tall, but he’s strong and athletic,” Zerhusen said. “When he wants to play, he’s tough in there. He seems to do OK with size… so we’re hoping that stays true.”

The game will be broadcast on the Pegasus Sports Network.