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BEDFORD – Battle tested and confident, the North Oldham Mustangs knew just what to do when South Oldham closed the gap on them in the 29th District finals Friday. Handling the ball nearly flawlessly and hitting eight of nine from the foul line down the stretch, NOHS pulled away from SOHS to win the school’s second district crown with a 65-52 win. “It was a little shaky for a minute there, but we came back together and started doing things right,” NOHS senior forward Mike Rowan said. “We’ve been in these situations all year long. There is no selfishness on this team and everybody knows their role. That’s why we were able to win.” The Mustangs held the lead through much of the game thanks to their balance and defense, which limited SOHS to just three three-pointers in the game, six under their average made threes. NOHS coach Danny Edelen said the Mustangs’ ability to contain SOHS guard Drew Kraemer’s slashing style to the basket enabled them to defend the three. “I thought we had a great team effort in containing Drew Kraemer because he makes them go,” Edelen said. “They have guys that are great spot-up shooters who maybe don’t create their own shots, and when Kraemer is getting to the basket and pitching it back out, they can really hurt you with the three.” Despite not hitting their threes, the Dragons were able to cut into the Mustangs’ lead trailing by just four points through much of the second half. With 3:01 left SOHS had a last chance when a free throw from Aaron Carrithers cut the lead to 49-44. NOHS regrouped and closed the Dragons out from the line hitting eight of nine foul shots along with a few easy baskets after they were able to break SOHS’ scrambling defensive pressure. NOHS’ Kevin Christian, who would hit all six of his free throws in the final three minutes, hit a pair to give NOHS a 51-44 lead. After Kraemer had a spinning shot in the lane rim around and out, Nate Goodson hit a pair of free throws to push the lead ot 53-44. SOHS’ Matt Faller kept the Dragons close when he hit a drive in the lane and drew a foul from Rowan. Faller’s free throw cut the lead to 53-47 with 2:19 left. NOHS answered immediately when Goodson hit Tyler St. Julien on a give-and-go for a layup. Faller was hit with a walking violation that nullified a basket at the other and Goodson and St. Julien hooked up again for another layup that gave the Mustangs a 57-47 lead with 1:48 left. After an SOHS timeout, the Mustangs struck again when Goodson hit a drive in the lane for a 59-47 lead.Christian closed out the Dragons with four free throws on the next two possessions. “Every challenge we faced the kids responded really well,” Edelen said. “Poised, that’s the best word to describe them in this win – they were very poised at the end of the game.”All-district Rowan led the all-district team by being named the tournament MVP. He was joined on the team by Goodson, Foley and Christian. Oldham County was represented by Eric Dunlap and Matt Day.NOHS - 20 10 15 20 65 - Nate Goodson 10, Kevin Christian 12, Alex Foley 1, Tyler St. Julien 11, Mike Rowan 15, Ryan Gallas 4, Clay Watson 6, Kyle Fenquay 2, Dale Tingle 4, 65.SOHS - 11 9 17 15 52 - Drew Simpson 11, Jeff Arsenault 8, Drew Kraemer 8, Matt Faller 6, Casey Jackson 4, Aaron Carrithers 15, 52.
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