GAME 8: SOUTH OLDHAM VS. OWENSBORO CATHOLIC, 8 P.M. THURSDAY
Coach: Steve Simpson.
Litkenhous Rating: 89.0.
Sweet 16 trips: Third (0-2).
Last trip to State: 2014 (lost to Hopkinsville 83-62 in first round).
What to look for: The Dragons are making their third trip to the Sweet 16 in four years. They earned it with a huge turnaround (they were 11-17 last season) and a huge performance in the Eighth Region final. South Oldham, which had lost by 29 points at Anderson County during the regular season, blasted the Bearcats by 37 in the regional final (the largest victory margin in that game in 83 years). When you talk about South Oldham you start, and finish, with the 3-pointer. The Dragons have hit a state-record 355 trifectas this season and they hope to add to that this week.
Key players: Isaac Fields, Trenton Bouvet and Grant Williams. All three are seniors who were in the program for each of South Oldham’s previous two trips to the Sweet 16. They have some unfinished business. “Ever since I was a freshman here, that’s what we’ve always worked for,” Fields said. “I got to go with the team my freshman year, got to play there sophomore year and it’s what we’ve always talked about. Now, as seniors, it’s our moment and we finally got to go.”
Coach-speak: “Hopefully we won’t be as star-struck as we’ve been in years past,” Simpson said.
1-Devin Young, 6-2, So., 9.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
5-Isaac Fields, 6-0, Sr., 8.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg
11-Joe Griffin, 6-2, Jr., 10.9 ppg, 3 rpg
21-Grant Williams, 5-10, Sr., 9.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg
24-Trenton Bouvet, 6-2, Sr., 10.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
4-Jacob Bray, 6-2, Sr., 11.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg
20-Dyllon Hoover, 6-1, Jr., 5.9 ppg, 3 rpg
23-Dylan Snook, 6-3, Sr., 3.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Coach: Tim Riley.
Litkenhous Rating: 80.4.
Sweet 16 trips: First.
What to look for: Riley, the long-time coach at Warren Central who guided the Dragons to the ‘04 state title, has led the Aces to their first-ever Sweet 16 in his first season on the job. The Aces, who were picked to finish eighth in the region in The Courier-Journal’s preseason poll, had a number of injuries early that contributed to their 0-4 start. “Once we got healthy we have been a solid team that doesn’t turn the ball over much and shoots the ball pretty good,” Riley said. O-Cath relied heavily on a pair of senior, four-year starters at guard, Cameron O’Bryan and Ray Zuberer, much of the season. O’Bryan (12.2 ppg), however, went down with a torn ACL in the district championship game. Despite starting three sophomores with two seniors the Aces rolled to the Third Region title, winning their three games by 12, 10 and 11 points.
Key player: Luke Hayden. The 6-foot-2 sophomore forward leads the Aces in scoring (16 ppg) and is second on the squad in rebounding (5.1 rpg) while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and 79.2 percent from the free throw line.
Coach-speak: “We have been a solid team defensively, which we need to be against a very potent offensive team in South Oldham (since) they lead the state in 3’s made all-time,” Riley said. “South Oldham is an explosive team with multi guys who shoot the ball really, really well. They also have tremendous guard play. We will have to defend the 3 really well and hope to slow down their ability to score. We will, in turn, have to put up more points than we generally do to have a chance to defeat SOHS.”
21-Luke Hayden, 6-2, So., 16 ppg, 5.1 rpg
11-Ray Zuberer, 5-11, Sr., 11.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
24-Luke Payne, 6-2, Sr., 9.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg
2-Maxwell Reid, 5-9, So., 3.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
1-Hayden Riney, 5-11, So., 1.5 ppg, 0.7 rpg
14-John Marshall, 6-6, So., 1.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg