Hayden Hawes scored 10 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter to lead Oldham County to the 29th District boys’ basketball title with a 74-67 victory over South Oldham on Friday night at North Oldham.
The Colonels (21-6) enter next week’s Eighth Region Tournament at Henry County on a roll. Since losing to South Oldham (19-4) on Jan. 10, coach Coy Zerhusen’s team has won 12 of 13. Making the run remarkable is that only one player is back from last year’s team that also advanced to the regional.
“At the beginning of the year, if you asked me that, I would have been shocked but happy,” Zerhusen said. “They’ve done exactly what we’ve asked them to do. Their hard work has paid off.”
The Colonels started pulling away with a 12-3 run late in the second quarter. Conner Hicks — that lone returnee — capped the surge when he made one free throw and missed the second, but a teammate gathered the rebound and Hicks wound up draining a baseline 3-pointer that made it 27-19 with 1:25 left in the half.
The Dragons drew no closer than four points the rest of the way. One reason could be that they exhausted all of their timeouts by midway through the third quarter. Not having those timeouts late proved costly, coach Steven Simpson said.
He also said his players uncharacteristically let their woes on offense — such as scoring just eight second-quarter points — hamper their defense.
“We can’t let it affect us on the defensive end of the court,” he said. “We let that happen tonight. Our defensive execution was not good tonight.”
Hicks added 20 for the Colonels. Drew Griffin and Michael Greenwood led South Oldham with 17 each.
With just two seniors on the roster, Zerhusen said it’ll be important for his players to keep their emotions in check in the regional, taking care of what they can control.
“Every game at Henry County will be tough,” he said.
For Hawes, a junior, the victory was especially sweet since it came against the school he attended as a freshman.
“I wish them well in the regionals,” he said of the Dragons. “Hopefully, we’ll see them again.”
The Lady Colonels withstood a late comeback this time to beat the Lady Dragons, who rallied from 13 down to beat them for the district crown last year.* Oldham County 50, South Oldham 43:
This time around, the Lady Colonels (15-9) led 45-34 with 3:57 remaining, but the Lady Dragons (9-15) scored nine straight to pull within two. And when Ashley McMurtrey missed the front-end of a one-and-one with 54.1 seconds left, South Oldham had a chance to take the lead. But guard Kacey Wernert blocked Syndey Jones’ three-point attempt on the Lady Dragons’ ensuing trip down the court. After a tied possession, South Oldham turned it over on the inbounds play, and the Lady Colonels never looked back.
“It started to be déjà vu there for a second,” said McMurtrey, who finished with 21 points and earned district tournament MVP honors. “I wasn’t going to let that happen. (Wernert’s block) made me think, ‘We got this.’ I just had faith in my teammates. We wanted this so bad.”
Emma Sedoris led South Oldham with 15 points.
– Gates 9, Hawes 27, Bates 5, Hicks 20, Perkins 10, McCarty 3.Oldham County (22-6)
– Blair 5, Griffin 17, McWilliams 4, Young 10, Greenwood 17, Bullock 10, Horsey 4.South Oldham (19-4)
– Gates, Hicks 2, Blair, Griffin 2, Greenwood 2, Bullock, Horsey.3-point goals
– VanZant 6, Wilson 11, Jones 7, Schumm 2, Sedoris 15, Platt 2.South Oldham (9-15)
– Stewart 11, Wernert 5, Patrick 3, McMurtrey 21, Davis 6, Nuernberger 4.Oldham County (15-9)
– Jones 2, Wernert, Patrick, McMurtrey.3-point goals