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Manica powers 2nd-half surge

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By Josh Cook

A big second half propelled the Shelby County boys’ basketball team to its sixth victory in its past seven games.

The Rockets rallied from a 7-point halftime deficit and outscored host North Oldham by 18 after intermission on their way to a 74-65 triumph Friday night in Goshen.

“I thought our pressure started to wear them down in the second half,” said Shelby County Coach Jason Couch, whose team outscored the Mustangs, 45-27, during the third and fourth quarters. “Our guys did a great job of sharing the ball and getting to the free-throw line."

Sophomore point guard Malik Manica led the way. He tallied a team-high 22 points, including 18 in the second half. Manica made his living at the free-throw line, where he hit 10 of 10.

“Malik did a fantastic job of getting in the lane and breaking down North's defense,” Couch said of Manica, who was also 6-for-9 from the field.

Manica led four Rockets in double digits. Junior guard Kyler Dugle added 15, sophomore forward James Gordon 14 and senior guard Kipp Moore 11.

Shelby County (7-11), which trailed, 38-31, at halftime, outscored the Mustangs (8-9), 19-11, in the third quarter and in the fourth period, 24-16.

The Rockets won in spite of 33 points by North Oldham senior guard Trevor Burton, who hit five 2-pointers, five 3-pointers and was 8-for-13 from the free-throw line. He tallied 12 points in the first quarter, in which the Mustangs won 18-12, before scoring seven more in the second, in which North outscored Shelby, 20-19.

The Rockets, who hosted Western Hills on Tuesday night, play at Oldham County (13-5) at 7:45 p.m. Friday in Buckner.