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GOSHEN – South Oldham’s District 29 tournament win over Trimble County Thursday played out a lot like its regular season win over the Lady Raiders.
In the regular season meeting earlier this month, the Lady Dragons took an early lead, then watched as Trimble spent the game chipping away. A Lady Raider 3-pointer missed at the buzzer and South held on for a 49-46 win.
Thursday at North Oldham, the Lady Dragons had a 29-20 halftime lead and then watched as Trimble chipped away at the margin throughout the second half. But South had several players come up big in the clutch and the Lady Dragons held on for a tense 61-54 win.
South (9-14) clinched a spot in the Region 8 tournament with the win. It also clinched a spot opposite Oldham County in the District 29 championship at 6 Friday night at North.
The Lady Dragons got the win despite playing the last 4:43 without senior guard Holly Schumm and the last 2:47 without senior center Emma Sedoris, as both fouled out. South led by just three points, at 51-48, when Sedoris picked up her fifth foul.
“With Emma and Holley both out we were like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to win this for them,’” point guard Abbey Van Zant said. “’This is going to be their last game if we don’t.’ So we knew we had to win.”
A Shelbe Black free throw cut South’s lead to 51-49 with 2:47 left.
The Lady Dragons responded with a quick 4-0 run. First Rachel Platt scored off a pass from Erin Wilson to make the score 53-49. Then Wilson scored off an assist from Platt on an inbounds play to push the lead to 55-49.
“Wilson stepped up and made a big play at the end,” South coach Christy Higdon said. “She made that dump down to Platt underneath the basket and then she took it off one of our sideline inbounds plays we run quite often.
“…To have Sedoris go out with (2:47) in the game and come out with a victory against that team… My kids just held strong.”
Trimble (17-9) cut the lead to 55-52 with 1:05 left after a putback layup and a free throw from Paige Black.
South chose to run clock out an ensuing timeout and Van Zant and her teammates played keep-away from the Lady Raiders until she was finally fouled with 28 seconds left. She hit one of two free throws to make South’s lead 56-52.
After a Trimble miss, Van Zant got the ball back and hit two more free throws to make the score 58-52.
Van Zant, who hit the game-winning shot for South last year in the district championship game against OC, tallied 13 points, four rebounds and three assists Thursday night.
“She was so important,” Platt said of Van Zant. “We needed her tonight and she stepped up when we needed her.”
Trimble hit a shot with 9.4 seconds left to cut the lead to four, but the Lady Dragons scored three more points and left with a 61-54 win.
Just as important for the Lady Dragons Thursday was the play of Platt, a senior guard who scored 11 points off the bench. Platt was playing through a stomach virus and her entire family had spent the last few days vomiting, she said. Her six points in the first half helped South take control of the game early.
“I love to shoot the ball so when I’m open I try to shoot,” Platt said. “That’s what I can do to help the team so that’s what I do.”
Sedoris scored a game-high 17 points for the Lady Dragons Thursday, though she was limited by foul trouble for much of the second half. Sydney Jones scored 13 for South.
Shelbe Black and Paige Black scored 15 and 14 points each for Trimble. Kaylee Clifford added 10.
The Lady Dragons will be out for their sixth straight district tournament championship Friday. South has beaten OC in every one of the last five District 29 championship games.
But the Lady Colonels go into this meeting with some confidence, as they beat the Lady Dragons 53-47 in the team’s regular season meeting Jan. 10 in Crestwood. They feature senior guard Ashley McMurtrey, who scored 41 points Wednesday in OC’s 71-33 win over North Oldham in the district semifinals.
“We owe them one for coming into our place and beating us,” Higdon said. “…After watching last night we have an idea of what we’re going to do, who we need to stop. If we can do that then I think we’re going to have a successful game.”
Trimble County – 9, 11, 17, 17 – 54
South Oldham – 11, 18, 11, 21 – 61
Trimble County – S. Black 15, P. Black 14, Clifford 10, Brierly 7, Dunlap 6, Consley 2
South Oldham – Sedoris 17, Jones 13, Van Zant 13, Platt 11, Wilson 4, Ansert 2, Schumm 1