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The Shelby County Rockets (14-13) drubbed Spencer County (6-22), 69-41, Wednesday in the first round of the 30th District Tournament at Anderson County.
The victory put the Rockets in tonight’s championship game against the host Bearcats.
After roaring out to a 21-point first quarter, the Rockets slowed in the second quarter and carried a 30-21 lead into the half.
“I thought we came out and played hard right from the start,” SCHS Coach Mike Clark said. “In the second quarter we missed some shots and slowed up a little, but I wasn’t that worried because we were missing good shots. What did worry me was that we were playing too fast, rushed. We needed to make Spencer County guard us three or four passes into our offense and pull that zone out on the floor more.”
Well, in the second half Clark got his wish.
The Rockets used a 10-0 run about midway through the third to blow the game open. Cache Tomlinson sparked the run with back-to-back 3-pointers, and Boomer Beckley blocked a shot to send the Rockets to another fast-break basket.
“We were much better in the third quarter,” Clark said.
After pushing the lead 49-33 at the end of the third, Clark looked to start getting rest for some players.
SCHS leading scorer Donovan Johnson sat most of the fourth quarter, and Beckley, Tomlinson, Daryl Hicks and Eric Standafer soon followed after the Rockets’ lead had ballooned to more than 20 points.
The Rockets then closed the game with a 15-2 run and held Spencer County to just one field goal early in the fourth quarter – a stretch of more than 7:30.
The Rockets’ balanced attack was the key to the victory.
Johnson paced the team with 16 points, and he was one of four Shelby players in double figures. Joining him were Tomlinson with 14, Beckley with 12 and Standafer with 10.
“I thought we did a great job of sharing the basketball and finding the open shooter,” Clark said. “We have several guys that are capable of leading us in scoring every night. It was good to see that balance come back for us.”
The victory was Shelby County’s seventh in a row, and it assured the Rockets of a spot in next week’s 8th Region Tournament at Henry County.
“I think we’re playing very well right now,” Clark said. “We hit a little groove there in the second half, and I think we’re going to be a tough out as the postseason goes on.”
Boys' 8th Region Tournament
The Boys’ 8th Region Tournament will begin Wednesday at Henry County High School. Though the region draw will not be held until Saturday, the teams that will play in the tournament have been decided. The top two teams from each district advance. The championship games for each district are: 29th District – North Oldham vs. South Oldham, tonight 30th District - Shelby County vs. Anderson County, tonight 31st District - Owen County vs. Henry County, tonight 32nd District - Simon Kenton vs. Grant County, Saturday