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South survives Collins, advances to finals

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Dragons play for second straight Region 8 title Tuesday

By Brad Stephens

NEW CASTLE – Collins had four chances to end South Oldham's season Monday night in the boys Region 8 semifinals. But after 36 minutes of play, the Dragons had survived and advanced.

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South held on to beat the Titans 63-62 in overtime Monday at Henry County, advancing to Tuesday night's regional championship. The Dragons will play Simon Kenton at 7 p.m. Tuesday, looking to win their second straight and second ever Region 8 title.

Senior guard Kyle Young was the star for South Monday, scoring a game-high 30 points and hitting six 3's. He out-dueled Collins forward Ralphie Stone, who scored 24.

While South (21-4) held on to win in overtime, coach Steve Simpson said his Dragons won the game in the first quarter, when the Dragons out-scored the Titans 29-15. Young hit five 3's and scored 17 points those first eight minutes.

“I thought that first quarter really set the pace for the rest of the game,” Simpson said. “They were so ready to play... Kyle was just filling it up and we were just trying to get it to him the best that we can.”

But Collins (25-5), which whipped South 60-42 in December in Crestwood, spent the rest of the game chipping away, pulling to within 38-34 by halftime.

The Titans tied the game at 45 in the third quarter, before a Drew Greenwood 3-pointer and a Drew Horsey layup off a Zach McWilliams assist gave South a 50-45 lead.

The teams traded runs. Collins had a 4-0 burst on a baskets by Lawson Page and Stone to cut South's lead to 50-49. South made a 5-0 run behind a Young 3 and a Horsey basket, making the score 55-49.

Deion Cochran of Collins cut that lead to 55-53 with two layups, including one off a steal.

Two Young free throws pushed the South lead back to four at 57-53.

Titan center Caleb Vogel scored to make that margin 57-55 with 3:25 left. That's when both teams ended regulation on a scoring drought.

Two Page free throws that tied the game at 57 were the only scoring over the next three minutes.

Finally the Titans had the ball with 11.6 seconds to play, tied at 57. Cochran had the ball on the right wing and looked for Page on the opposite side of the floor. He passed to Page but the ball sailed high, off Page's hands and out of bounds with 2.3 seconds to go.

Michael Griffin missed a long turnaround 3-pointer at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime.

Griffin struck first in overtime, hitting an open 3 off a pass from Young. His free throw on South's next possession made the score 61-57.

Brent Kidwell answered with a layup for Collins to cut that lead to 61-59. Young responded with a shot to push South's advantage to 63-59.

Stone hit two free throws, then one of two on another Titans possession to make the score 63-62.

Collins then got the ball back with 43 seconds left after South's Drew Bullock was called for a walk.

The Titans dribbled around before calling a timeout with 25 seconds left.

Coach Chris Gaither drew up a play to get to the rim. However shots by Stone and Vogel bounced off the iron, no good. As the ball bounced around, the buzzer sounded, seemingly ending the game.

But the officials went back and gave Collins a timeout, putting 1.7 seconds on the clock.

The Titans ran an inbounds play out of the timeout that gave Cochran an open look from the perimeter. But his shot bounced off, and South survived.

 

Collins – 15, 19, 11, 17 – 62

South Oldham – 29, 9, 12, 13 – 63

Collins – Stone 24, Cochran 14, Page 10, Kidwell 10, Vogel 4

South Oldham – Young 30, Blair 8, Griffin 8, Horsey 8, Greenwood 6, Bullock 3