BluegrassPreps.com - Region 8 - Oldham County Colonels Sweet 16 Preview

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    Team Synopsis

    Oldham County Colonels (29-5 overall, district 29 champs; 8th region champs)

    Season highlights:

    Champions, Pegasus Sports Network Best in Hoops Classic - beat North Bullitt, 79-44, beat Warren Central, 71-39, and beat John Hardin 88-60

    Third place, Holiday Basketball Classic, Palm Beach, FL - beat Atlantic Shores Christian (Cheasapeake, VA) 56-24, lost to St. Andrew's Episcopal (Potomac, MD) 57-61, and defeated Grace Christian Academy (Knoxville, TN) 57-43

    Fifth Place, Toyota Classic Lost to Lafayette, 71-84, defeated Woodford County 67-60 and Wayne County, 67-52

    - record of 2-1 vs Sweet 16 teams, defeating Warren Central (4th region champs) and splitting two games with John Hardin (Fifth Region champs)
    - other big wins: Defeated #11 Walton-Verona, the state runner-ups in the All-A Classic, Spencer County (20-8), Gallatin County (26-8), Collins twice (22-10), Simon Kenton (19-10), Waggener (18-10), and South Oldham (19-12).
    - Oldham finished the season on a five game winning streak and has won 10 of their last 11.
    - Average points per game: 70.4 ppg
    - Average points allowed / game: 54.8 ppg

    - Post-season
    - Oldham won the 29th District for the 8th season in a row. This is the second longest such streak in the state, an impressive feat since Oldham has had to beat South Oldham frequently to win the 29th, and the Dragons have been strong (winners of 3 of the last 6 region 8 titles)
    - The Colonels won the 8th Region for the 16th time in school history, and the 7th time since 2001. They last made it to Rupp in 2012. Oldham has made it to the Final 4 on three occasions.
    - To win the 8th, Oldham had to defeat defending 8th Region champ Collins (22-10), 31st district champ Gallatin County (26-8), and county rival South Oldham (19-12), who had won 3 of the previous 5 region titles.

    Key Players:

    Senior 6'4" center Travis Henderson - All Region - 15.9 ppg 6.1 rebounds, both team highs. Scored his 1,000th career point in the 8th region tournament. At 40.7%, the best three point shooter on the team and made the most threes. Henderson has refined his game since his junior season, and become a dangerous scorer inside, off the dribble, and from the perimeter. On the glass, he has become a much more physical rebounder, something the Colonels greatly needed in a region populated by a number of physical rebounders.

    Senior 6'2" forward Zach Larimore - All Region - 11.8 ppg 5.7 rebounds. Averaging 15.6 ppg in the post-season, with two double-doubles in the last five games, including a 19 point / 13 rebound effort in the 8th region semi-finals vs. Gallatin County. Larimore got a slow start to the season offensively, but really came on strong late in the season. Since exploding for 21 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Waggener on 1/31/18, Larimore has averaged 16.3 ppg with double digit scoring efforts in 10 of the last 11 games.

    Junior 6'3" forward Christian Harper - 6.8 ppg 3.8 rebounds Harper is a jumping jack who can simply take over the glass. He took over a starting position mid-season, and Harper has become especially valuable as a defender, where his length and athleticism have made him particularly effective. That said, Harper is also a capable scorer, and has a few double-doubles to his credit. His top post-season performance was a 13 point, 9 rebound game versus Collins in the first round of the 8th Region tournament.

    Senior guard Jackson Gibson - All Region - The Colonels' starting point guard averages 15.7 ppg and frequently is one of the leading rebounders, though he averages just 2.8 per contest. Gibson's ability to drive is complemented nicely by his ability to come to a jump stop and pop the mid-range jumper, and he seems to have a knack at making last-second plays - either by getting his own shot off or by creating for someone else. After a late season injury forced him to miss some games, he has returned with a vengeance, and is averaging over 15 ppg in the four games he's played since returning to the starting five. In his first game back, against South Oldham in the district 29 finals, he hit 9 of 12 shots, scored a team-high 23 points and grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds.

    Senior guard Andre Brewer - 8.2 ppg - Known for his defensive skills before the season, Brewer has emerged as a capable scorer in 2017-18. When Gibson sat out late in the year, Brewer filled in admirably at point - so much so, that he continued to handle much of the point guard responsibilities during the post-season tournaments to date. In the tournaments, "Dre" has come alive, averaging 11.4 ppg and leading the Colonels in scoring in the region 8 finale versus South Oldham, when he erupted in the first half, hitting six consecutive threes, and scoring all of his team-high 24 points in the first half to stake Oldham to a lead it would not give up.

    Key Subs:

    Brandon Dewitt (senior) started for the first half of the season. When Harper replaced him in the starting five, Dewitt seemed to catch fire, and he has become an electric sixth man for the Colonels. It was Dewitt that energized Oldham late in a road win at Collins on 2/6/18, rallying the Colonels from a 14 point deficit to a 49-46 come-from-behind win at Collins. Averaging 4 ppg, Dewitt has defensive skills, enough size to be a problem on the defensive end of the floor, and solid shooting range (36% from beyond the arc).

    Matthew Teague - Teague, a junior, tantalized with his potential much of the year before erupting late. Averaging 4.8 ppg and nearly 3 rebounds off the bench, Teague is always in "attack" mode, and has solidified himself as a consistent performer of late. In the region championship game against South Oldham, with Henderson and Harper both on the bench in the first period with two fouls, Teague came in and contributed 9 points and 4 rebounds to keep the Colonels on track.

    Team stats:


    Oldham ranked as the #6 team in the state in shooting this season, and is currently hitting 52.0% from the floor. The shooting isn't just from one or two really good shooters, either: Christian Harper (60.7% FG), Travis Henderson (58.0%), Jackson Gibson (53.7%), and Zach Larimore (52.4%) are all starters that shoot the ball well, but the subs are also proficient. Matthew Teague (52 of 103 for 50.5%) and Gavin McClarty (56.7%) are both solid from the floor.

    Coach Coy Zerhusen

    In his fifth year at the helm, Zerhusen - a former Scott County HS star under coach Billy Hicks - has left his mark in Buckner while maintaining the school's long tradition of basketball excellence. Since 1976, Oldham has had just 5 boys' basketball coaches, and all were extraordinarily successful - Coach Dave Hart, Jr. resurrected what had been a down program and earned the school's fourth region title in 1980 with a squad that went 31-3, still the school's best single season mark. Bob Hoggard, a state Hall of Famer, followed, and was succeeded by Gary Forrest, who was just enshrined in the Oldham County HS Basketball Hall of Fame and who has his "Jersey" hanging in the Oldham gym. Jason Holland arrived for a four year stint and took Oldham to two Sweet 16s during that time, including a Final Four in 2012. The common thread was that all four of the coaches that preceded Zerhusen went to the Big Dance.

    Zerhusen has continued the tradition, winning 128 games and losing just 32 in his nearly five years (averaging 25.6 wins per season) at Oldham County, winning five district titles, and now earning that elusive trip to the Sweet 16. Emulating the style of his high school mentor, Zerhusen has flourished using a ferocious full court trapping 2-2-1 zone defense that, at its best, generates offensive opportunities from defensive turnovers, and even at its worst, seeks to wear down an opponent, mentally and physically.

    This year, the Colonels have shown more versatility on defense in the half court, with the result being that Oldham has been a much more difficult defensive riddle to solve late in the season. In the final two games of the 8th region tournament, Oldham held Gallatin County (averaging 64 ppg) to just 36 points, and South Oldham (the region's top-scoring team at 70.3 ppg, and who had scored 95 points the night before against Anderson County) to just 56 points, over 14 points below their season average.

    Oldham current strengths

    - besides shooting the ball well from the field, Oldham has proven they can hit the outside shot when necessary, hitting 33% from beyond the arc as a team this year. When South Oldham tried to pack in the defense in the region finals, Oldham responded by hitting 9 of 18 threes. Larimore, Henderson, Gibson, Dewitt, Brewer, and Cole Mesker are all legitimate threats from the outside. Though the Colonels primary game is inside the arc, the Colonels won't hesitate to take the long look.
    - Free throws have improved as the year has progressed, and Oldham was deadly at the line in the 8th region tourney, hitting 89% from the stripe in the semi-finals and 80% from the line in the championship.
    - Who to guard? Not an easy question to answer. In the five post-season games to date, four different Colonels have led the team in scoring - Henderson, Gibson (twice), Brewer, and Larimore. And with so many Oldham players shooting high percentages, giving too much attention to one player can be a fatal mistake.
    - The glass. Travis Henderson, Christian Harper, and Zach Larimore are talented at hitting the offensive glass, and offensive boardwork was a major reason the Colonels pulled away in the second half of the region finale against South Oldham. All three are mobile and aggressive.
    - Bench. Zerhusen can go 10 deep and get production from his bench. Dewitt - the former starter - brings instant energy to the floor at both ends and the mentality of a starter. Teague has a motor that is always running and is aggressive on drives to the rim and working the glass. Gavin McClarty is a surprisingly effective inside rebounder and scorer for his size. Cole Mesker has impressive outside shooting credentials. And Dylan Benson provides solid, consistent play off the bench.
    - Gibson. The X factor for the Colonels is Gibson's ability to make, or create, plays. Gibson is a strong penetrator with remarkable body control. Yet he also excels with his jump shot, plays harassing defense, and creates opportunities for his teammates with his deft passing. Gibson is truly the kind of player who can score 30 points a night - or create the winning plays while scoring just 6.

    Season Recap

    Oldham County raced out to a 12-0 mark that included wins over two ranked and undefeated teams when the Colonels blasted Warren Central by 32 and John Hardin by 28 points in December wins at the Pegasus Sports Best in Hoops.

    Rising to as high as #10 in the state in some polls, the Colonels plunged off the charts after losing 3 of 6 games....the first to St. Andrew's Episcopal of Potomac, MD in the Holiday Basketball Classic at Palm Beach, FL by 4....the second loss was a 10 point defeat at South Oldham to open the New Year....the third was a 13 point loss to top 15 Lafayette in the first round of the Toyota Classic.

    After winning four straight, the Colonels got hammered by a revenge-driven John Hardin squad in the Nathan McCurry Classic in Elizabethtown, but since then, the Colonels have won 10 of 11 games to arrive at Rupp.

    The Colonels have played an aggressive schedule this year, and have won more of those games than they've lost.

    CM
    Last edited by ColonelMike; Mar 13, 18 at 10:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    All Oldham County games in the Sweet 16 will be broadcast over the internet at The Pegasus Sports Network - PSN, beginning one hour before tip.

    CM

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    Oldham County used a strong defense to win its opener, 65-58, over McCracken County.

    Though the Colonels didn't have their best shooting night, they saved their best for last, hitting 8 of 10 field goals in the fourth and also hitting 8 of 10 FTs to do something not much of anyone - if anyone - has done all year against the Mustangs: Score 25 points in one quarter.

    Oldham's defense forced 17 turnovers, including six by the McCracken point guard, leading to 26 points.

    The Colonels won points in the paint (36-20), points off turnovers (26-13), 2d chance points (6-0), and fast break points (6-2).

    Zach Larimore (20 points on 7 of 10 shooting and 6 of 7 FTs) led the Colonels, with Travis Henderson adding 18 points and 7 rebounds and Jackson Gibson scoring 14 (10 in the fourth period). Andre Brewer added 9 points and 6 assists.

    The Colonels (30-5) now face 10th region champ Campbell County (29-5) on Friday at 6:30 pm.

    Pegasus Sports will air internet radio coverage of the game beginning at 5:30 pm at The Pegasus Sports Network - PSN

    CM

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    Oldham County, with the 56-55 victory over 10th Region champion Campbell County, has earned the a berth in the Final Four for the fourth time in school history.

    In the early 60s, Oldham lost in the semi-finals to eventual state champs Wes Unseld and Seneca.....in the mid 80s, Oldham fell to eventual state champ Hopkinsville after losing a fourth quarter lead.

    Oldham's last trip to the semi-finals came in 2012, under coach Jason Holland. Oldham County fell to Scott County by 13 points.

    This is also only the third OCHS team to reach the 31 win plateau. The 1980 team, coached by Dave Hart, Jr., went 31-3 and reached the Sweet 16 (still the all-time best record for Oldham), and Holland's 2012 team went 31-6. That team was the only previous Colonel team to win 31 games and advance this far in the tourney.

    This year's squad still has the opportunity to improve on both records, but to win #32 and to advance to a first-ever championship game, the Colonels will have to upset #2-ranked Covington Catholic.

    Two "Colonels" teams - both in royal blue.

    Oldham will try to ride the hot hand of Zach Larimore, who's averaging over 17 ppg during the post-season (nearly 6 points above his season average) and hitting well over 60% of his shots. Larimore hit 10 of 11 against Campbell County and scored 23 points.

    live internet radio coverage begins at 7 pm ET tonight on The Pegasus Sports Network - PSN

  5. #5
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    Kudos to the Oldham County boys' basketball team. You represented yourselves, the school, and the 8th Region very well at Rupp.

    Although I know the SF loss to CovCath was painful, Final Four appearances are hard to come by. Relish the moment and be proud of your accomplishment.

    CM

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