NEW CASTLE, Ky.
South Oldham and two-time defending champion Oldham County set up a neighborhood battle for the Eighth Region boys’ basketball title with semifinal victories Friday night before about 5,000 fans at Henry County.
Shae Goodlett scored 33 points as South Oldham (23-7) rallied from a 17-4 deficit to nip Simon Kenton 72-70. Oldham County (24-7) eliminated Anderson County 79-64 behind Sam Gruber’s 28 points, which included a career-high seven 3-pointers.
The county rivals will clash at 7 tonight for the right to advance to the KHSAA Sweet 16, which starts Wednesday at Lexington’s Rupp Arena.
“This is the first time two Oldham County schools will have played in the regional finals,” South Oldham coach Steven Simpson said. “This is what our kids wanted after losing to Oldham County (59-52) in the (29th) district final (last week).”
Oldham County is seeking its 16th trip to the state tournament. South Oldham, which opened in 1989, is aiming for its first.
* South Oldham-Simon Kenton: The Dragons took their first lead at 25-24 on a 3-pointer by Devonte Jones, and it was a seesaw battle until South Oldham went on a 9-1 run to go ahead for good, 60-58. Goodlett had nine points in the final period, including a goal that made it 67-61 with 42 seconds left.
Mitch Catinna contributed six points early in the fourth quarter, and Matthew Haysley tallied 14 of his 18 points in the final eight minutes, hitting 8 of 12 free throws.
Goodlett made 11 two-point goals and one three.
“Shae plays much bigger than his size (6 feet 1),” Simpson said. “He’s the ultimate team player. Simon Kenton tried to take away our threes, so Haysley took the ball to the basket in the last quarter. When we were down 17-4, we felt we could come back.”
The Pioneers hit 11 threes to South Oldham’s three. Riley Barnes hit six of them — three in the first quarter — and led Simon Kenton with 23 points.
* Oldham-Anderson: The Colonels broke open a tight game with a 10-point spurt that pushed their 55-54 lead to 65-54 early in the fourth quarter. Austin Wills, who came off the bench to hit four threes, ignited the rally with a three-point play. Wills, star of the first-round victory over Grant County, wound up with 15 points.
Oldham stretched the margin to 79-61 with a late 9-0 run, but until the last quarter it was a close battle. Both teams made a ton of turnovers, but they also thrilled the crowd with their outside shooting. Oldham made 12 threes and the Bearcats seven.
With the Bearcats down 26-14 in the second quarter, Christian Estes and Austin Cummins sparked a comeback that cut it to 34-33 at halftime. The Colonels had trouble against Anderson’s pressing defense.
“Neither team could guard the other,” Oldham coach Jason Holland said. “We made 23 turnovers, but Anderson had a lot to do with that. But we had No. 2 (Gruber), who made some big plays for us.”
Jay Smith led Anderson with 23 points. Cummings had 19 but suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter.
Oldham County (25-7) – Gruber 28, Lafe 12, Johnson 9, Wills 15, Kopp 9, Masters 6.
Anderson County (22-5) – Smith 23, Cummings 19, Estes 16, Cox 4, Mann 2.
3-point goals – Gruber 7, Wills 4, Lafe; Cummings 3, Smith 2, Estes 2.
South Oldham (23-7) – Goodlett 33, Matthew Haysley 18, Catinna 9, Youmg 4, Jones 3, Michaek Haysley 2, Blair 3.
Simon Kenton (19-11) – Barnes 23, Morrison 14, Sampson 12, Montgomery 9, Swanson 5, Robinson 3, Bowling 2, Mullins 2.
3-point goals – Goodlett, Jones, Catinna; Barnes 6, Montgomery 2, Sampson 2, Morrison.