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Some things in life will never change — death, taxes and, since 1989, the rivalry between South Oldham and Oldham County.
That certainly won’t be the case this season anyways as the schools meet on the hardwood once again, taking to Oldham County Jan. 4 for the rivalry’s 25th regular season meeting.
And like most years, postseason implications will be on the line as inside shot at the district’s No. 1 seed awaits the winner.
One thing that will play to the Colonels’ favor is home court advantage. Though both schools will bring big fanbases to the game, Oldham County coach Jason Holland stresses his team has some extra motivation.
“We’ve lost three games here in the last three years,” Holland said after his team’s game against Central on Dec. 21. “This is our gym that we come to every day after school and has our blood, sweat and tears. We fight in here together. We look at it as a war. When you step in here, you better be ready to play because we’re going to bring it to you.”
That should cause for good basketball out of the gates as both team’s have shown a penchant for high octane attack and sturdy defense.
South Oldham in particular has proven that, crossing the 70 point plateau six times already this season.
Part of the reason for that, South Oldham coach Steve Simpson said, is a deep bench that doesn’t lose a step with the starters out.
“We’re very blessed at South Oldham to be very deep,” Simpson said. “We’re real pleased with our bench, we have a lot of good players. I tell people that you can put them in a barrel, shake them up and, with the five that fell out, you could put a good team on the floor.”
Oldham County has shown some depth as well, turning to guard Anthony Johnson to lead their second unit.
“He’s so interchangeable,” Holland said. ‘He can come in for anybody and be the top of our 1-3-1 or the middle or the back. He can play so many parts for us. That’s why he’s so valuable being the sixth guy. He can come in and just change the game. He’s understanding his role now.”
One key matchup to watch will be the battle in the post where Colonels’ big man Garrett Masters will go head-to-head with the forward tandem of Shae Goodlett and Matthew Haysley.
While Goodlett is undersized at 6-foot, he plays bigger than his dimensions, Simpson said.
“He just plays with so much heart and just works so hard under there against those bigger guys,” Simpson said. “He’s just a warrior under there. Matthew Haysley has really emereged as an addition rebounder for us (as well). People don’t realize that when he got hurt in the first game of the district tournament, not having him in the regional tournament was huge.”
Tip off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Oldham County.
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