Rockets to face South Oldham in Region semis

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By Todd Martin

The Shelby County boys' basketball team will meet South Oldham for the third time this season, but this one will no doubt be the biggest.

The teams will play Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the 8th Region Tournament semifinals at Henry County High School with a shot at Tuesday's championship on the line.

South Oldham (18-13) upset Simon Kenton 60-51 in Wednesday's second first-round match-up.

The Dragons held a 13-point lead before Simon Kenton hit three straight three-pointers to close within four points, 50-46, with about three minutes to play.

But South sealed the win from the free-throw line, hitting 10 of 12 over the final 2:50.

Aaron Carrithers led four South Oldham players in double figures with 19 points. Drew Kraemer chipped in 15 points, Drew Simpson had 11, and Matt Faller added 10.

In the first meeting between the two teams, the Rockets (21-8) hammered South 78-57 in the same Henry County gym to win the Henry County Invitational Tournament. The Rockets played a nearly flawless first quarter -- failing to score on only one possession -- to take a 32-18 lead. Tim Sanford led the way in that game with 19 points, including three three-pointers, Coty Minnis added 14, Alex Shehan 13, and Donovan Johnson 12.

The second game, a Jan. 19 tilt at Shelby County, was closer, but with the same result. The Rockets held off a hot-shooting South squad that hit nine threes in the game for a 69-58 win. Shelby hit 15 of 18 free throws in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Minnis was nearly unstoppable in the post in the second game, tallying a game-high 25 points. Sanford added 14 points, and Shehan chipped in 13.

As the old saying goes, it's tough to beat a good team three times, but the game should be in the Rockets' favor. Shelby County won a slug match in January, and blitzed the Dragons in December. South will no doubt have revenge on its mind, but the Rockets have shown that they can win either way against South, including weathering a shooting storm.

The Dragons will look to get hot outside and the Rockets' perimeter defense has struggled at times, but South has no answer for Minnis in the post, and Sanford has proven that he can shoot with South Oldham from beyond the arc. The senior sharp-shooter has hit six three pointers in the two games against South Oldham.