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It was home sweet home for the Shelby County boys’ basketball team last Thursday night but not so much Friday and Saturday for the weary Rockets.
After having played only five home games all season, Shelby County went 1-2 at Mike Casey Gymnasium at the end of last week. The Rockets rallied to beat Kentucky Country Day, 65-64, on Thursday night before losing a close game to Oldham County, 56-53, in their Homecoming on Friday night, and falling to Beechwood, 69-59, on Saturday night in the Tom Creamer Classic.
Shelby County 65, KCD 64
Michael Barry’s basket with 20 seconds to play capped a big rally by the Rockets and a big night by Barry, who scored 28 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, when Shelby County outscored the Bearcats, 24-16.
“I thought Michael was just outstanding,” Shelby County Coach Jason Couch said.
Barry finished 14-for-17 from the field, and the Rockets shot 49.1 percent (27-for-55). Junior guard Kipp Moore added 13 points.
Shelby County jumped out to an 8-0 lead and led, 16-10, at the end of the first quarter before the Bearcats (then 12-9) battled back to lead at halftime, 27-26, and entering the fourth quarter, 48-41. Then the Rockets rallied.
“We did a good job of making stops, and we made some really, really big plays,” Couch said.
The biggest came in the final half-minute when sophomore Kyler Dugle had the ball, nearly lost it, then batted it to Barry for the game-winning basket.
KCD still had a shot – at the buzzer – to win, but it missed.
Freshman forward James Gordon added 9 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets.
“James had a very, very good week,” Couch said. “He’s really starting to grow up.”
Oldham County 56, Shelby County 53
The Rockets cut the Colonels’ 14-point halftime lead to two points twice in the second half, but they couldn’t get closer in an 8th Region game.
Shelby County led, 15-12, after Moore’s layup with 2:08 to play in the first quarter. Oldham answered with an 11-0 run to take an 8-point lead (23-15) early in the second period and closed the first half with an 8-0 spurt.
Hayden Hawes’ only field goal – a buzzer-beating, 22-foot 3-pointer – gave the Colonels, who outscored the Rockets, 26-9, in the final nine minutes of the first half, a 38-24 halftime lead.
“We went through a couple of scoring droughts in the first half,” Couch said. “I told them at halftime, ‘You’ve got every excuse not to play in the second half, but, hey, we’ve come a long way, we can get back in this.’
“And we did.”
Shelby County came alive in the third quarter. The Rockets scored the first six points of the second half – on a layup by Moore, a jumper by Gordon and a lay-in by Malik Manica – before Oldham’s Anthony Johnson hit a 3-pointer. Shelby County reeled off another nine in a row – on Manica’s layup, a basket by Gordon, a conventional 3-point play by Barry and another basket by Barry – to cut the Colonels’ lead to 41-39 with 2:12 to play in the third period.
After an turnover the Rockets had a chance to tie the score or even take the lead with a 3-pointer, but Manica was whistled for traveling.
“That third quarter we came out and really got back in it and challenged them,” Couch said. “We showed a lot of resiliency to come back in the third quarter.”
The Colonels, though, scored five in a row to open up a 7-point lead early in the fourth quarter. The Rockets wouldn’t go away, though.
His team trailing, 55-51, late, Gordon scored and was fouled while scoring after several offensive rebounds by Shelby with 14.4 seconds to play. After an Oldham timeout, Gordon missed the free throw.
The Colonels missed a shot on their ensuing possession but got the ball back after a scramble for the rebound. After a couple of Shelby County fouls (the Colonels weren’t in the bonus), Sam Gruber hit one of two free throws with 4.7 seconds to play.
The Rockets had a chance to tie, but Moore’s jumper, which may or may not have been shot behind the 3-point line, was too hard.
“That’s the best half-court man [defense] we’ve played, in the second half,” Couch said. “We showed signs of toughness. We kept fighting.”
Gordon scored 17 points to lead the Rockets, who lost, 83-39, last season at Oldham County. The Colonels went on to advance to the state semifinals.
“This game really shows how much progress we’ve made,” Couch said. “I was proud of the guys.”
Barry added 11 points and Moore 10. Shelby County shot 48.9 percent but was plagued by 17 turnovers and 9-of-17 free-throw shooting.
“We did a good job of getting to the free-throw line, but we weren’t making them pay,” said Couch, whose team was 6-of-12 from the foul line in the first half.
Beechwood 69, Shelby County 59
Playing their third game in three days, and their fourth game of the week, the Rockets’ fourth-quarter comeback came up short against the Tigers in the final game of the Creamer Classic.
Beechwood (6-13) led, 20-11, at the end of the first quarter, 34-20 at halftime and 45-33 at the end of the third period before Shelby County (8-15) outscored the Tigers, 26-24, in the fourth.
Barry scored 22 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, hitting 7 of 13 from the field.
Moore and Kemar Mason added nine points apiece for Shelby County.
Senior forward Chase Maus scored 28 points for Beechwood. He had 10 field goals, including one 3-pointer, and was 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, where the Tigers were 23-for-26.
Shelby shot 44.4 percent (20-for-45) from the field.
The Rockets, who played at Frankfort on Tuesday night, host Pendleton County at 7:30 p.m. Friday.