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CRESTWOOD – Though South Oldham’s boys’ basketball team took an 11-point lead, its largest of the night, at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Oldham County still had some gas left in its tank.
With 25 seconds left, the Colonels cut the lead to four. They also got a break when Dragons junior guard Mitch Cantina missed a one-and-one free throw.
But SOHS held together. The Dragons forced a turnover and an errant shot by OCHS on the game’s final possession and held on for a 50-45 win.
“Our composure was huge,” senior guard Shae Goodlett said. “We had to get our heads out of our butts and I think we did that down the stretch. When they hit a few threes, we were freaking out. But we got back on it and took care of business.”
Goodlett, a scoring machine for SOHS this season, who averaged 16.1 points per game through the first 14 games, had 18 against the Colonels. Goodlett had help from junior forward Devonte Jones and junior forward Jack Sherry, who each had nine points. But SOHS coach Steve Simpson said he liked how his team got into the position to score.
“Other than late, we did a good job of taking care of the ball,” he said. “Our offensive execution was better. We didn’t shoot as many shots as we normally do, but we knocked down big shots when we had to.”
Using an aggressive four-out, one-in defense, the Dragons caused plenty of confusion for OCHS. On their first possession of the second half, the Colonels held the ball for 1:50, aided by two offensive rebounds. But OCHS coach Jason Holland said he didn’t intend to use the stall tactic.
“They just defended us well,” he said. “We ran three different plays, two of them they’ve never seen. But they just got in our guys and defended., Our guys looked like it was the first game of the year. They were passive and waited for someone else to go make a play.”
The Dragons also lured Colonels’ senior forward Tyler Wesley, one of OCHS’ top offensive threats to just six points. He fouled out with two minutes remaining in the game.
Senior guard Kerry Smith finished with 18 points, but missed a three-pointer on the game’s final possession.
“They got on top of us and we had to fight and claw our way out,” he said. “If we play like a team, we probably beat them tonight.”
In front of a standing room only crowd, Jones said he felt like SOHS had something to prove against the defending eight region champions.
“We were so pumped for this game,” he said. “We came out with so much enthusiasm, we pumped each other up and we were ready. We played hard.”
And because of Goodlett, Sherry and a host of others, the Dragons are now in line for the top seed in the 29th district tournament, having already defeated Trimble County. SOHS plays its final district game Jan. 31 at North Oldham.
“We made some carless mistakes down the stretch,” Simpson said. “But we need to continue to play the defense like we did tonight. This was probably one of our best defensive efforts since I’ve been here. If our defense can be like it was tonight, that can take us a long ways.”
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