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Boys Basketball: Colonels compete in first round of state

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By Sam Draut

Sometimes it takes one play.

It took nearly three quarters, but Oldham County found its moment to trigger a victory.

Faced with an 11-point second half deficit, Oldham County boys basketball rallied for an 65-58 victory over McCracken County in the first round of the KHSAA Sweet Sixteen state tournament in Lexington Thursday March 15. The Colonels scored nine points in less than 45 seconds in the final minute of the third quarter, two 3-pointers by Dre Brewer and three free throws from Travis Henderson to fight back into a game that appeared to be swaying entirely into the favor of the McCracken County.

“That was big to hit a couple of those shots and get the energy going,” Zerhusen said. “That let our defense pick it up.”

Zach Larimore had a team-high 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting from the field and ] Henderson scored 18 points with seven rebounds for Oldham County. Jackson Gibson finished with 14 points and ]Brewer added nine points and six assists.

Jackson Sivills had 17 points and nine rebounds while Wes Belt finished with 14 points for McCracken County.  

After scoring 24 points in the regional final victory over South Oldham, Brewer was once again at the forefront of Oldham County’s offensive attack, hitting two 3-pointers when prospects looked bleak for the Colonels.

“Dre is such a competitor, we saw it in the regional final,” Zerhusen said. “It’s not a surprise, he wants to take those shots and we want him to take those shots.”

The Mustangs controlled the pace of play in the opening quarter as teams split the first 10 points when Henderson drilled a 3-pointer to knot the score at 5-5. Henderson added a layup to once again tie the score late in the first quarter, and Jackson Gibson made a mid-range jumper as time expired to cut McCracken County’s lead to 12-11.

Henderson scored the first basket of the second quarter to briefly give the Colonels a lead.

Midway through the second quarter, Matthew Teague took a steal down the floor, converting a layup while being fouled. On the ensuing free throw, Larimore hauled in an offensive rebound and put-back for a 19-17 Oldham County advantage.

Larimore added a three-point-play with 3:17 left to extend Oldham County’s lead to two possessions.

The teams were tied 24-24 at halftime as Henderson and Larimore combined for 20 of Oldham County’s 24 points.

Zerhusen admitted McCracken County’s pace of play bother Oldham County, a style the Colonels expected to face.

“We knew they were going to do that. The way that they were hitting threes, that was tough because they are so disciplined,” Zerhusen said. “We knew if we weren’t able to get the pressure up full court they were going to get some good looks. The way they were hitting, it was wearing on us a little bit.”

Cameron Cartwright made a pair of 3-pointers following halftime to give McCracken County a 32-28 lead with 5:14 left in the third quarter, forcing a timeout by Oldham County coach Coy Zerhusen.

A 3-pointer by Mitchell Guthrie gave McCracken County a 38-31 with under three minutes left in the third quarter. Sivills scored to extend McCracken County’s advantage to 42-31 with 53.8 seconds left in the quarter.

Brewer stopped the onslaught with a 3-pointer from the wing, followed by a McCracken County turnover, which led to another shot from behind the arc from Brewer, cutting the deficit to 42-37.

On Oldham County’s final possession of the third quarter, Henderson was fouled on a 3-pointer attempt, making all three free throws to take the game to one possession heading into the final eight minutes.

With 6:21 left, Gibson took a steal for a layup, giving Oldham County a 45-44 lead. Gibson's basket capped a 14-2 run.

McCracken County followed with a 3-pointer, but Larimore tied the score with a layup at the other end.

Oldham County retook the lead when Henderson made a 3-pointer from the wing with 5:05 left, forcing a McCracken County timeout. Wes Belt tied the score a minute later with a shot from behind the arc for McCracken County.

Following the 3-pointer by Belt, Henderson had a driving floater and was fouled, missing the free throw, which was rebounded by Larimore. Zerhusen called a timeout after Larimore's rebound with 4:07 left.

After the stoppage in play, McCracken County scored off a turnover, but Gibson scored on the ensuing possession to give the Colonels a 54-52 lead with 3:28 left.

Nathan Stonecipher made a free throw with 1:56 left to cut Oldham County's lead to one, but Gibson answered with a floater banked off the glass.

Gibson made a pair of free throws with 1:04 left, followed by a steal and layup from Henderson, giving Oldham County a 60-55 lead. With 34 seconds left, Larimore made a free throw.

McCracken County answered with a 3-pointer with 13.9 seconds left to take Oldham County's lead to 61-58.

With 13.5 left, Gibson was sent to the free throw line. The senior made both free throws for a 63-58 lead. Larimore grabbed a defensive rebound with 6.5 seconds left, making both free throws.

Oldham County will play Campbell County Friday March 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the second round of the tournament.