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South Oldham’s senior class has been working toward this season for a long time.
Seniors like Drew Greenwood, Jonathan Blair and Michael Griffin grew up playing on the same teams when they were in elementary school.
The core group picked up new members along the way, like when Drew Bullock moved to town before sixth grade or when Kyle Young moved before eighth grade.
Finally when Zach McWilliams transferred from North Oldham to South after his freshman year, the Class of ‘14 had the pieces in place to make a run when they were seniors.
The Dragons have done just that, winning the Region 8 title last week and qualifying for a second consecutive Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys Sweet 16. South plays Hopkinsville at noon Wednesday in Lexington's Rupp Arena.
“We got it done twice,” said Young, a senior guard. “We’re the first and second class, the only two classes to get it done.
“And we work... I don’t want people to just think we were blessed with this ability. We had to come into the gym in early mornings and we had to work, go out and grab it.”
Young was the only returning starter on this year’s team.
The rest of the Dragon seniors didn’t get their chance to become South’s go-to players until their senior years.
But they’ve taken advantage, getting back to Rupp Arena for the second time in program history.
“For most teams going once would be a dream come true,” Blair said. “We’re blessed to go twice in a row.”
The seniors have settled into their roles.
Blair is the team’s starting point guard who likes to penetrate to the basket and then score or kick out to an open shooter.
McWilliams is a point guard who can switch in and out with Blair and provide an extra shooting threat.
Young is a bulldog defender who turns steals into layups.
Greenwood and Griffin are sharp-shooters who are a rebounding presence.
Bullock is called upon to guard the opponent’s bigger players while being able to hit shots on the offensive end.
Horsey comes off the bench to provide post defense, rebounding and interior scoring.
Jacob Roy and Scott Moore haven’t played as much in recent games, but both are vital in game preparations, Bullock said.
“They work harder than anyone else in practice making us better,” Bullock said.
Seemingly every senior had a big moment during the Region 8 tournament.
Bullock drove South to an 84-77 win over Owen County in the opening round with a 25-point performance.
Young scored 30 in helping the Dragons past Collins 63-62 in the semifinals.
In the 50-47 win in the finals against Simon Kenton Greenwood scored 16 points, six coming off offensive rebounds to break three different ties.
Blair scored off missed free throws at the end of the Owen and Simon games.
Griffin made a big steal in overtime against Simon.
Horsey kept South from getting overwhelmed in the paint by Collins’ big men.
“We don’t have to have a set person to go to,” Bullock said. “I could have zero points and we still win by 20 points because other people contributed. It doesn’t matter who scores.”
The players grew up together both on and off the court and still spend lots of their free time together.
The bond the group’s shared and the importance each member’s had to the team’s success will make the ‘14 Dragon seniors a group to remember, Greenwood said.
“I’ll have a lot of good memories of a team that was a brotherhood,” Greenwood said. “...We were there for everyone. We came in and worked hard in practice. We were just a group that loved each other.”