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SOMS wins Mid-Bluegrass Conference Championship

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By Sam Draut

The Girls Mid-Bluegrass Conference Championship was hosted at South Oldham Middle School this week. South Oldham won the eighth and sixth grade tournament championship while Oldham County claimed the seventh grade title. 

Eighth Grade tournament

South Oldham Middle School defeated North Oldham Middle School 32-21 for the Mid-Bluegrass Conference Championship. Bryanna Blackburn scored 13 of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, including three 3-pointers. North Oldham’s Kylie Vize had a team-high eight points and Riley Neal added seven points.

After its seventh and eighth grade teams' combined for a 2-29 record last season, South Oldham became regular season conference champions and tournament champions this year, with the eighth grade team finishing with a 17-4 record.  

The turnaround was initiated by coach Keith Blackburn, who took over the program this offseason.

“We got a more dedicated coach. The past two years we haven’t had him, so he has helped a lot,” Kylee Leslie said.

From there, the players worked to become a better team.

"I cannot say enough about how these girls exemplified what hard work will do,” Keith Blackburn said. “I wanted this for them so bad because they put so many hours in the gym during the offseason. They heard me bark at them every night. I told them every day in practice ‘When I quit barking, when I quit grinding, I have given up on you.’ I did not give up on any of these 12 girls. Every one of these young ladies had a factor in us being tournament champions.”

Blackburn was optimistic about the team before the season started after seeing the dedication and work. After suffering 30 to 40 point defeats last year, the Lady Dragons took vast strides this season. The players noted a different practice formula that aided their improvement.

“We don’t run to run. We actually work on basketball skills. Last year, we just ran,” Mikaila Bowlden said.

In the championship game, after North Oldham led 13-10 at halftime, South Oldham held the Lady Mustangs scoreless in the third quarter to take a three point lead into the final six minutes of play.

It was then that Bryanna Blackburn made all three of her 3-point shots to seal the victory for the Lady Dragons. She had scored just four points in the first three quarters, but found her rhythm in the final few minutes.  

“I wasn’t shooting well so I had to shoot my way out of it,” Bryanna Blackburn said.

“When she is hot, she is hot,” Keith Blackburn said. “We put a lot of time in the gym to work on her jump shot.”

Seventh Grade tournament

Oldham County Middle School defeated North Oldham Middle School 30-25 for the Mid-Bluegrass Conference Championship. Shauvi Kennedy scored 22 points for the Lady Colonels, eight of which came in the final quarter of play. Kennedy had several drives to the basket in the final two minutes to hold off the Mustang comeback. Kylie Vize scored 15 points for the Lady Mustangs.