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Barry’s basket beats buzzer

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Rockets win another down-to-the-wire game

By Josh Cook

The Shelby County boys’ basketball team may not be helping Coach Jason Couch’s health, but the Rockets are winning games.

Michael Barry’s buzzer-beating basket Tuesday night gave Shelby County a 52-50 victory at Frankfort.

“We like those games that come down to the last bucket,” Couch said jokingly Wednesday afternoon. “But they’re not good for my blood pressure.”

Tuesday night’s nail-biter was the Rockets’ third in their previous four games. They beat Kentucky Country Day, 65-64, last Thursday night on Barry’s bucket with 20 seconds left, then lost to Oldham County, 56-53, Friday, after they had rallied to tie the score in the final seconds.

Against the Panthers (7-15) – Shelby County’s fifth foe in eight games – the Rockets led, 17-10, at the end of the first quarter in spite of the fact that Barry didn’t play and freshman point guard Malik Manica was around for only half the period.

Barry, who missed Monday’s practice because of illness, sat out the opening quarter while Manica played only about half of it after hitting his head in a scramble for the ball (as a precaution Manica did not return to the game).

Shelby County (9-15) still led, 24-2,0 at intermission and 28-22 early in the third quarter before Frankfort outscored the Rockets, 15-4, the remainder of the period. The Panthers increased their lead to seven points (46-39) midway through the fourth quarter before the Rockets rallied.

“We started our little half-court trap, and they turned it over a little bit, and we made them take some quick shots,” Couch said.

Sophomore forward Jacob Gowin, who started in place of Barry, hit a 3-pointer to start an 11-2 Shelby spurt. After two Frankfort free throws, junior guard Kipp Moore hit two of his own, and freshman forward James Gordon scored before Barry hit a pair from the foul line. Keenan Cochran gave the Rockets the lead, 50-48, with a basket with about a minute to play.

The Panthers tied the score with about 15 seconds left, setting the stage for Barry’s game-winner.

Moore pushed the ball upcourt – Couch elected not to call a timeout – and as he was about to be trapped, he passed crosscourt to Cochran, who took a couple of dribbles and whipped the ball to Barry, who drove to the basket and laid the ball in just before the buzzer.

The Rockets won despite shooting 37.3 percent (19-for-51) from the field and making only 12 of 22 free-throw tries (54.5 percent).

Moore scored a team-high 14 points for Shelby County, and Gowin added 13.

The Rockets, who host Pendleton County at 7:30 tonight, play at 30th District rival Spencer County (10-12, 0-2) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.