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Dragons attack basket to hold off Braves

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By Brad Stephens

CRESTWOOD – A South Oldham team known for its 3-point shooting had to find another way to win Monday night when its perimeter shots just weren’t falling.

So the Dragons took the ball, ran through the lane and attacked the basket.

South did that well enough and often enough to hold off a pesky Grant County team, 91-77, Monday at home.

The Dragons (12-2) hit just three of the 21 3-pointers they took Monday. Senior guards Kyle Young and Drew Bullock hit one apiece in the first and second quarters, respectively. The other was a 24-foot bank shot by senior guard Scott Moore as time expired in the first half.

South went 0-for-7 in the second half from behind the arc.

“I don’t think we hit a 3 in the second half, but we were getting to the rim,” coach Steve Simpson said.

The ability to get to the rim is what made the difference for the Dragons Monday.

Young scored most of his 24 points by either getting layups or hitting free throws that resulted from his being fouled on layup attempts. The same goes with senior guards Jonathan Blair (16 points) and Zack McWilliams (14 points).

“Coach told us before the game their defense is really weak on the penetration,” Blair said. “Zack McWilliams and I, we focused on getting to the rack. 

“We get a couple of buckets inside and hopefully that’ll open up the outside range... Unfortunately they didn’t fall tonight, but we still got the win.”

Grant County (5-9) stayed in the game thanks to a big night from forward Aaron Hicks, who scored 25 points. Seth Adkins and Austin Johnson added 18 and 16 points apiece.

“Grant’s getting better,” Simpson said. “I thought they did a good job offensively. They beat us on the boards. They played hard. They did all the things we told the kids they would do, but I just thought our defense was not up to par to what it had been of late.”

Moore’s 3-pointer at the buzzer capped off a 10-1 run to end the first half for the Dragons, putting them up 42-31. 

But the Braves stuck around in the third quarter. They fell behind by as much as 51-37 after a Blair basket, but didn’t go away, cutting South’s lead to 62-55 at the end of the third quarter.

Then Grant County hit back-to-back 3’s at the beginning of the fourth, trimming the lead to one at 62-61.

“They were 5-8 when I saw them but they kept up with a bunch of teams,” Blair said of the Braves. “They played Simon Kenton close. I told (the Dragons) in the locker room before the game, they’re not as bad as when we played them in our scrimmage game. They definitely showed it.”

Young scored two straight baskets, one on a put-back, and the other on an assist from Blair, to push the lead back to 66-61.

The Dragons then put the game on ice from the free throw line. South hit 21-of-26 free throws Monday, including 14-of-18 in the fourth quarter, to hold off another potential Braves rally.

“Ninety-one points is a whole lot,” Blair said. “We only hit two or three 3’s. 

“That’s a big testament to our maturity. If we’re not hitting outside we’ve got to get something inside. Some people stick to the outside, and that’ll be the death of their game right there.”

Simpson wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance Monday, but was glad to get a win from it.

“It was just a night where we didn’t do anything really well,” Simpson said. “People will look at me like, ‘You scored 91 points,’ but I just don’t think we played really well.”

OTHER MONDAY SCORES

Boys

North Oldham 74, Atherton 64

Girls

Oldham County 53, Holy Cross (Louisville) 50