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Color this one all Rockets

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Coach’s hair has new hue but after his team wins a few

By Josh Cook

Shelby County girls’ basketball coach Mike Sowers was blue Tuesday night.

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But the color didn’t describe his mood. Nope, the hue characterized the coach’s coif.

Sowers colored his hair blue, and a little gold, in honor of his team’s winning 10 games this season.

“I told them if they won 10 games before the beginning of the season I’d do it, and a bet’s a bet,” said Sowers, whose first Shelby team won three games last season. “Whatever it takes to motivate the kids.”

The Rockets, though, didn’t stop at 10. They picked up their 11th victory of the season Tuesday night with a 50-10 victory over Portland Christian at Mike Casey Gymnasium.

Shelby picked up its 10th victory of the season Saturday, beating East Jessamine, 52-43, so Tuesday morning, with the help of his wife April, Sowers colored his hair.

“I think it’s awesome,” freshman Kara Wiley said of the coach’s hair. “I think it looked good, even if the gold didn’t show up too good.”

The Rockets, though, showed up for their game against the Eagles (4-15).

Shelby (11-7) scored the first 20 points and led 38-1 midway through the third quarter on the way to its third victory in its last four games and its fifth in its last seven.

Six players had at least five points for the Rockets led by freshman forward Mackenzie Raizor, who scored nine. Her twin sister, Savannah, added eight, as did sophomore reserve forward Nikki Simmons.

Senior guard Hayley Powell and junior guard Lynsey Nichols each added six points on a pair of 3-pointers, and eighth-grade forward Justus Martin scored five.

“I thought if we did what we were supposed to it would be a lopsided win,” Sowers said. “We got to play single man-to-man defense the whole game, and it gave a lot of kids who put in a lot of time working hard for this program an opportunity to play.”

Nichols and Powell hit back-to-back 3-pointers late in the first quarter to give Shelby a 12-0 lead after eight minutes.

The Rockets scored the first eight points – on a 3-pointer from Powell, a jumper by junior Jamie Bradley and another 3 from Nichols – early in the second quarter before Portland Christian’s Laurel Trejo hit one free throw with 4:01 to play in the first half for the Eagles’ first point of the game.

Shelby County scored the final 12 points of the half – on a 3-pointer by Mackenzie Raizor, a jumper from her twin, back-to-back baskets by Martin and a 3-pointer from Savannah Raizor – to lead 32-1 at intermission.

“We hit six three-pointers in the first half. We probably haven’t hit six three-pointers in a game this season,” Sowers said. “I was hoping we’d shoot it well, but I didn’t anticipate us shooting it that well. We need to be that confident when we shoot the ball against everyone.”

The Rockets scored the first six points of the second half – on one free throw from Martin, an old-fashioned 3-pointer play by Mackenzie Raizor and a rebound basket by Simmons – before Portland Christian freshman Abbie Scroggy connected on the Eagles’ first basket of the game with 2:59 to play in the third quarter.

Portland Christian hit two more field goals in the third quarter and one in the fourth.

Every Rocket played, and nine scored.

“It was a nice to reward the players for their hard work, and the bench played well,” said Sowers, who singled out freshman guard Jordan Holt.

After the game it had to be asked, what would Sowers do if his team wins 15 games this season?

“I’ll have to think about that,” he said with a smile.