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The South Oldham High School girls’ and boys’ basketball teams can claim superiority over rival Oldham County High School following wins Friday.
But more importantly, the path to the 29th district tournament is now shorter for the victors.
The Dragons and Lady Dragons outplayed their counterparts Friday at SOHS, with the reward a pair of wins that bring them closer to the top seeds in their districts.
If the Dragons defeat North Oldham Jan. 31, they’ll clinch the top seed in the boys’ district tournament. The Lady Dragons can do the same if they win Jan. 18 at North Oldham and Jan. 30 at Trimble County.
But SOHS Coach Steve Simpson said he believes his team will have plenty of company for the remainder of the season.
“The eighth region is wide open,” he said. “I still think Oldham has tremendous athletes, they’re very well coached, they’re the defending eighth region champions and until that changes, they’re the team to beat.”
On Friday, the Dragons’ stout defense came through in the final seconds of the game, though SOHS missed two free throws with less than a minute to play.
The Dragons got a steal and forced OCHS senior forward Kerry Smith to take a hasty 3-pointer on the game’s final possession for a 50-45 win.
“Our composure was huge,” SOHS senior guard Shae Goodlett said. “We had to get our heads out of our butts and I think we did that down the stretch. When they hit a few 3s, we were freaking out. But we got back on it and took care of business.”
The Dragons’ defense slowed the Colonels throughout the game.
For the first 1:50 of the third quarter Friday, OCHS kept possession of the ball. But Colonels’ coach Jason Holland said he didn’t intend to use the stall tactic.
He said the possession dragged out because the Dragons defended so well.
“Our guys looked like it was the first game of the year,” Holland said. “They were passive and waited for someone else to go make a play.”
In the first game of the doubleheader on Friday, the Lady Dragons rolled through, around and over the Lady Colonels with a 76-29 win.
SOHS scored the game’s first 16 points and didn’t let up, a plan Lady Dragons’ senior guard Jasmine Whitfield said the team has no matter who it plays.
“We try to do that every game, just start out strong and get their will down,” Whitfield said. “We were doing that today, they got down and it was perfect for us.”
But while SOHS kept the game in check from the tip-off, coach Frank Wright said one of the biggest benefits comes from playing in front of a standing room-only crowd.
He said the Lady Dragons hadn’t played in front of a crowd that large all season.
“We got a lot of minutes for some people who don’t get minutes in a game that means something,” Wright said. “It was a big crowd, big-game atmosphere. We’d like to do that down the road and then some people won’t be scared.”
Holland said he hopes OCHS will learn from the loss.
“We talked about either falling backwards or falling forward,” he said. “You’re either gonna fall backwards, lose the next game and pout around or you’re gonna fall forward, learn from it and try to get better.”
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