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Girls Basketball: South wins district title

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By Sam Draut

South Oldham girls basketball won its first district title since 2013 with patience and unselfishness.

The Lady Dragons defeated Oldham County 65-56 in the District 29 final Friday, Feb. 22 in Crestwood as four scorers finished with 12 or more points for South Oldham.

Payton Herold scored a game-high 15 points while Skylar Sahatjian finished with 14 points for South Oldham. Zoey Holland and Brynna Blackburn each added 12 points. Makaila Bowlden added eight points.

Sophia Head scored 13 points and Madison Clark had 12 points for Oldham County.

South Oldham coach Gene Heffington attributed the balanced scoring to the team’s unselfishness. Five players scored for the Lady Dragons in the fourth quarter as Oldham County tried to close its deficit.

“It’s an indication of how unselfish our kids are,” Heffington said. “They know passing to each other is a key.”

Facing a three-quarters court press from Oldham County, South Oldham was able to break through the press for transition baskets.

“Patience was our best friend tonight,” Holland said. “Patience in something we tried to work on all season long, getting patient quick helped us to settle down and get the game under control.”

Oldham County took a lead briefly in the first half and tied the score in the third quarter, but couldn’t sustain a run throughout the game.

“We never could get over that hump,” Nethery said.

Lakynn Goldsmith scored on an assist from Bailey Duke for a 6-4 advantage, but Zoey Holland answered with a corner 3-pointer. Alexis Head answered with an offensive rebound and put-back for Oldham County.

After Brynna Blackburn and Madison Clark traded baskets to tie the score at 10-10, Makaila Bowlden made a free throw to return the lead to South Oldham with 2:10 left in the first quarter. Holland made a baseline jumper with 1:34 left in the opening period, forcing a timeout by Lady Colonel coach Chris Nethery.

“We missed a ton of shots and settled early,” Nethery said.

With South Oldham leading 15-10, Sophia Head was fouled on a shot from behind the arc as time expired in the first quarter, making all three free throws.

Kennedi Roehrig made a midrange jumper for Oldham County to tie the score at 15-15 on the opening possession of the second quarter, but Blackburn returned the lead to South Oldham with a floater.

A transition layup by Blackburn from Holland gave South Oldham a 23-18 advantage with 4:30 left in the first half, forcing Nethery to use another timeout.

“We focused on what our game plan was and executing,” Heffington said. “Our game plan was to attack.”

Skylar Sahatjian was fouled on a shot as time expired in the first half, making two free throws to extend South Oldham’s lead to 29-24 at halftime.

Duke made a 3-pointer with 6:36 left in the third quarter to tie the score at 30-30, but Herold scored on the next possession for South Oldham. Neither team scored for more than two minutes until Blackburn made a free throw with 3:46 left in the quarter.

Sahatjian made a 3-pointer from the wing with 2:56 left in the third quarter to increase South Oldham’s lead to 36-31. Sierra Kemelgor made a shot from behind the arc with just over a minute left to extend the Lady Dragons advantage to eight.

A basket by Bowlden on the first possession of the fourth quarter extended South Oldham’s advantage to double digits for the first time.

“We knew that we had momentum, we just built off of that,” Herold said.

After Goldsmith made a baseline jumper, Clark made a free throw with six minutes left to pull Oldham County within seven, but Sahatjian answered with a 3-pointer.

Clark made a 3-pointer from the wing with 5:35 left to cut South Oldham’s lead to 46-39.

After a 3-pointer by Herold, Sophia Head scored on back-to-back possession to cut Oldham County’s deficit to 49-43 with less than five minutes left. A basket by Clark with 3:46 left trimmed South Oldham’s lead to four.

Herold hit a pair of free throws with 3:38 left to return South Oldham’s lead to six. Herold had another basket with 3:12 left.

“We broke down defensively in the middle,” Nethery said. “She dribbled right through us.”

Duke answered by making a shot from behind the arc.

Sophia Head had a steal and layup with 2:30 left to cut Oldham County's deficit to five.

Bowlden had an offensive rebound and put-back on South Oldham's next possession. Herold made two free throws with 2:09 left to give South Oldham a 59-50 lead.

Roehrig made a jumper and a steal on the ensuing inbounds play led to two made free throws by Alexis head with 1:38 left, cutting Oldham County's deficit to 59-54.

Holland found Blackburn in transition for a layup on South Oldham's next possession while Sahatjian made a free throw with 1:20 left for an eight-point lead.

Sophia Head made a floater with 33 seconds left to make the score 62-56. Holland made a free throw for South Oldham two seconds later.