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2 bad stretches spoil Couch’s debut

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By Josh Cook

CRESTWOOD – Two difficult stretches were too much for the Shelby County boys’ basketball team in new coach Jason Couch’s debut.

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Host South Oldham capitalized on the Rockets’ struggles in the second and third quarters on its way to a 73-55 victory Tuesday night.

The Dragons outscored Shelby County by 14 points (41-27) in the middle two periods of their 18-point victory.

“If we don’t have those bad stretches, it might have been a one- or two-possession game there in the fourth quarter,” Couch said. “But I’m proud of their effort.”

The Rockets, who lost to South Oldham, 109-68, last season, trailed, 11-10, at the end of the first period.

In the second quarter, though, the Dragons hit the offensive glass and got some put-backs for points.

“It’s a little disheartening sometimes when that happens,” Couch said. “You could see the wind go out of our sails then.”

But Shelby didn’t relent. The Rockets only trailed by nine (33-24) at halftime.

In the third period South Oldham got some defensive stops and outscored Shelby, 19-13, to lead by 15 (52-37) heading into the fourth quarter.

The Rockets couldn’t cut their deficit to single digits, though, against the more-experienced Dragons, who returned all five starters from last season’s 20-10 squad.

“We’re still young and inexperienced, and we were playing against juniors and seniors,” Couch said. “You expect them to make some heady plays down the stretch, and they did.”

Junior guard Kipp Moore scored a game-high 17 points for Shelby, which played without senior forward Michael Barry.

The Rockets’ top returning scorer and rebounder from last season was practicing for the Greater Louisville Football Coaches Association East/West All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday in Louisville.

“They’re a big, physical team and Michael brings that to our squad,” Couch said. “He definitely would have helped, but no excuses.”

In Barry’s absence, freshman forward James Gordon added 15 points for the Rockets, who shot 46.5 percent (20 of 43) from the field.

South Oldham senior forward Shae Goodlett paced the Dragons with 16 points.

The Rockets play at Louisville Collegiate at 7:30 tonight. They will play their first home game, against Christian Academy of Louisville, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Mike Casey Gymnasium.