Boys Basketball: Eighth Region final

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By Sam Draut

The Colonels can claim the Eighth Region title.

After several disappointing outcomes in the regional tournament in recent years, Oldham County boys basketball is headed back to the KHSAA Sweet 16 State tournament for the first time since 2012 following a 71-56 victory over South Oldham in the regional final Tuesday March 6.

In his fifth year as the Colonels’ head coach, Coy Zerhusen and his team finally ran through the regional tournament three-game gauntlet unscathed.

“I’m so proud of the guys,” Zerhusen said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we had guys step up.”

Dre Brewer scored 24 points while Zach Larimore had 15 points and Travis Henderson scored 13 points for Oldham County. Devin Young had 27 points and Luke Morrison added 15 points for South Oldham. 

In the opening quarter, the teams were knotted at a 9-9 tie following a 3-pointer from Peyton Hicks with 4:27 left in the first quarter.

Young had a three-point-play to give South Oldham a lead midway through the period, but Brewer answered with a shot from behind the arc to tie the score. Gibson added a basket and Brewer knocked down another 3-pointer.

Young had another three-pointer-play on South Oldham’s final possession of the first quarter, but Larimore hit a 3-pointer as time expired to give Oldham County a 25-22 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Brewer made 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to push the Colonels’ lead to 31-24. Matthew Teague added a pair of free throws to continue the Oldham County run, but Morrison made a jumper with 5:04 left to halt onslaught.

Oldham County and South Oldham traded 3-pointers as Larimore and Morrison drilled long-range shots as the Colonels led 40-31 heading into the final two minutes of the half.

The Colonels led 46-38 at halftime. Brewer finished with more than half of Oldham County’s points, making six 3-pointers and finishing with 24 points.

“When I saw the first one go in I felt pretty good, after that I kept letting them fire,” Brewer said. “I felt very confident.”

Young made a 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second quarter to bring South Oldham’s deficit within to 46-41. The senior hit another 3-pointer with 3:34 left in the third quarter to cut Oldham County’s lead to two points. Several possessions later, Larimore answered with a transition layup to push the Colonel lead back to two possessions.

After the Dragons closed their deficit to one possession with Young’s 3-pointer, Oldham County closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run, including two baskets from Henderson.

“We rebounded the ball and stayed wide in transition,” Gibson said. “We pushed the ball.”

Young briefly stopped the Oldham County run on the first possession of the fourth quarter, making three free throws on the opening possession, but Henderson answered with an offensive rebound and put-back.

After making his first free throw, Matthew Teague rebounded his miss on the second attempt and called a timeout with 4:27 left. After Teague saved the possession for the Colonels, Henderson scored in the paint for a 62-52 Oldham County lead. 

Henderson added an offensive rebound and put-back on the following Oldham County possession to spread the Colonel advantage to a dozen. 

Two free throws from Sam Beard brought Oldham County's lead down to eight points with less than three minutes left, but the Dragons couldn't close the deficit any further. 

The victory Tuesday night wrapped up quite a three-game stretch for the Colonels in the regional tournament. 

“We have lost in the first round, we have lost in the second round, we have lost in the championship, we felt like it was our time and we were ready to prove that,” Gibson said.

After winning the District 29 title, Oldham County knocked out Collins in the first round of the regional tournament as Gibson finished with 17 points and Harper and Henderson each added 13. In the regional semi-finals, the Colonels gritted out a 57-36 victory over Gallatin County with Larimore finishing with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

Oldham County is scheduled to play the winner of the First Region tournament (McCracken County/Graves County) in the first round of the single-elimination state tournament March 15 at Rupp Arena at 6:30 p.m.

This story will be updated.