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You have to be impressed with the South Oldham Dragons’ drive to the regional basketball finals.
SOHS’ 76-70 loss to pre-season favorite Shelby County did little to dim the outstanding season fueled by SOHS’ eight-man senior class that won a school record 27 games against just six losses. In the end, it was Shelby’s edge in athleticism that carried the day.
Along with the team performance – SOHS’ Casey Jackson put himself into the lore of Eighth Region final individual performances. Jackson came back from a cut over his eye after a nasty fall in the first half with a great game to close his career.
Known mainly as a finesse player who shot the three well during his career, Jackson’s 22 point, 10 rebound performance showed how far his game had progressed at SOHS.
He did score on threes, but was also able to attack the Shelby defense effectively off the dribble and at the end of the game, he was the man his teammates wanted with the ball.
The growth came through a lot of hard work not overlooked by the SOHS staff.
“He became a very hard-nosed player,” SOHS coach Steve Simpson said. “He really went from a catch-and-shoot guy to someone who could beat you off the dribble and really go to the boards hard. He was really dedicated to getting better and worked so hard at it. Casey really came a long way.”
Jackson’s transformation was not the only one on the SOHS roster.
Fellow senior Brice Jewett, another catch-and-shoot guy became another slasher who could score for the Dragons.
Jewett, the MVP of the district tourney, was a major reason SOHS was able to dispatch Anderson County 61-48 in the opening round of the region. He went for four “and-ones” in the game earning a free throw after scoring off a drive.
“The last 12 or 13 games of the season he found his shot and at the same time really started doing well at taking the ball to the basket,” Simpson said.
“I think one of the big keys for us this year Casey and Brice both sacrificed their scoring numbers this year. They did it willingly and it made us a better team.”
The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.