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Post-season preview?

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By John Herndon

It was not clear what kind of words Anderson County and North Oldham exchanged in the customary post-game congratulatory line, but “See you in March” would have been appropriate.

Thirty-two minutes of bumping, banging, bruising and, in one instance, breaking each other came down to the oldest truism of basketball as Anderson hit its free throws down the stretch, North Oldham did not.

Final score: Anderson 69, North Oldham 67.

Anderson hit 7-of-10 foul shots in the final 86 seconds, capping a rally from 10 points down in the final three minutes to extend its home-court winning streak to 21 games. The Bearcats improved to 12-4 on the year. North Oldham, a serious threat to the Bearcats’ Sweet 16 dreams, sank just one gratis shot in six attempts over the final 51 seconds as it fell to 10-5. The Mustangs were just 4-of-12 in the fourth quarter.

“The best thing about this game is that it proves we can play from behind,” Anderson coach Glen Drury said. “We see we can present ourselves with the chance to win.”

Down 61-51 with 3:19 to play, Anderson crept within striking distance when C.J. Penny sank the first of two free throws to pull Anderson within 66-60 at the 1:41 mark. Fifteen seconds and two North Oldham timeouts later, the Bearcats got the break they needed when North Oldham’s Tyler St. Julien was called for his fifth foul, going over Jacob Russell’s back.

Russell both charity tosses, then on the ensuing possession, came up with a steal at mid-court, righted himself after momentarily losing his balance, then hit Penny for a layup that drew the Cats within 66-64 with 74 seconds to go.

“He told us to go for the steals,” Russell said of Drury’s instructions during the time outs. “He said he thought our pressure would get us some steals.”

“That play and Will Ruggles’ block changed things,” Drury said.

After Penny converted Russell’s big steal, Ruggles came from behind to block Kyle Feuquay’s shot and further energize the Bearcats.

Inside the final minute, Landon Jenkins nearly picked off a pair of North Oldham inbounds passes. While he came down out of bounds both times, Drury said, “Those plays made (North Oldham) apprehensive.”

Free throws by Penny and Nick Humphries tied things, then after Chris Menefee hit the second of two foul shots for North Oldham to make it 67-66. Penny canned a pair of free throws at 13.9 seconds to give Anderson its first lead of the second half. After North Oldham’s Alex Foley missed both free throws, Penny hit another with 4.8 seconds to go to close out the scoring.

Penny, who had been sick for several days leading into the game, appeared plenty well in scoring 32 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking two shots. “C.J. made the plays we need for him to make in order for us to win big games,” Drury said.

The loss of St. Julien, an ultra-quick guard who ran the North Oldham offense and scored 20 points, proved to be devastating for the Mustangs.

“If he is in at the end, I think we win the game,” North Oldham coach Danny Edelen said.

Edelen also noted that Anderson was able to slow the game down enough to negate the Mustangs’ superior numbers. “I normally play 10-13 players to try to wear the opponent down,” Edelen noted. “When they slowed it down, I didn’t substitute as much.”

North Oldham, which came into the game averaging better than 80 points a game, scored its second-lowest point total of the season. Only Owensboro, which limited North to 64 points on Dec. 28, has held the Mustangs to a lower offensive output than Anderson.

Throughout the contest, the North Oldham demonstrated why it has risen to the Eighth Region’s second spot in the computer rankings. Trailing 28-23 late in the second quarter, North Oldham rallied to take a 32-31 halftime lead when Menefee’s high-arching shot tickled the ropes time expired.

“They are the best offensive team in the region,” Drury said. “Plus their size inside (Feuquay and Dale Tingle are both 6-foot-6) gave us trouble. We did not finish.”

Drury also noted that the Bearcats were without unsung guard Allen Warford, who picked up his second foul with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. Without their quickest defender, the Bearcats struggled to defend North Oldham’s four-guard lineup.

Anderson survived North Oldham’s try for a knockout punch early in the third quarter when the Mustangs upped their lead to nine twice, but Anderson got back within 50-46 at the end of the frame. North Oldham, however, extended the margin to 59-49 and 61-51 on a 3-pointer and layup from Alex Foley, who tied St. Julien for team scoring honors.

“We didn’t play to the best of our ability,” Penny said of getting in the deep hole.”

“They are good,” said Russell, who had also been battling some illness.

Good, just as Anderson is. Later in the week, North Oldham picked up a narrow win at Shelby County, perhaps underscoring the Mustangs’ status as the top threat to Anderson’s first Sweet 16 trip since 1997.

“(Drury) told us we would probably see them again,” Russell said.

“I want to give them a lot of credit,” Drury said. “They are a very good team.”

And, if the draw pans out, one that could be playing Anderson County in the regional championship game?

“There is a lot of basketball to be played,” Edelen said, “but I would take that right now.”

Humphries injured

Reserve center Nick Humphries, who had several key baskets and rebounds against North Oldham, limped off the court in the closing seconds. Drury said later in the week that Humphries had suffered a broken ankle and is apparently lost for the season.

Drury said that Humphries’ presence around the basket will be missed. “You can’t replace someone 6-(foot)-7 and 225 pounds,” he said.

Second half surge fires JV

The Anderson junior varsity outscored North Oldham 20-10 in the second half to post a 39-26 win in the preliminary game. Taylor Trimble paced the Bearcats with 17 points. Tyler Hyatt added 15.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.It was not clear what kind of words Anderson County and North Oldham exchanged in the customary post-game congratulatory line, but “See you in March” would have been appropriate.

Thirty-two minutes of bumping, banging, bruising and, in one instance, breaking each other came down to the oldest truism of basketball as Anderson hit its free throws down the stretch, North Oldham did not.

Final score: Anderson 69, North Oldham 67.

Anderson hit 7-of-10 foul shots in the final 86 seconds, capping a rally from 10 points down in the final three minutes to extend its home-court winning streak to 21 games. The Bearcats improved to 12-4 on the year. North Oldham, a serious threat to the Bearcats’ Sweet 16 dreams, sank just one gratis shot in six attempts over the final 51 seconds as it fell to 10-5. The Mustangs were just 4-of-12 in the fourth quarter.

“The best thing about this game is that it proves we can play from behind,” Anderson coach Glen Drury said. “We see we can present ourselves with the chance to win.”

Down 61-51 with 3:19 to play, Anderson crept within striking distance when C.J. Penny sank the first of two free throws to pull Anderson within 66-60 at the 1:41 mark. Fifteen seconds and two North Oldham timeouts later, the Bearcats got the break they needed when North Oldham’s Tyler St. Julien was called for his fifth foul, going over Jacob Russell’s back.

Russell both charity tosses, then on the ensuing possession, came up with a steal at mid-court, righted himself after momentarily losing his balance, then hit Penny for a layup that drew the Cats within 66-64 with 74 seconds to go.

“He told us to go for the steals,” Russell said of Drury’s instructions during the time outs. “He said he thought our pressure would get us some steals.”

“That play and Will Ruggles’ block changed things,” Drury said.

After Penny converted Russell’s big steal, Ruggles came from behind to block Kyle Feuquay’s shot and further energize the Bearcats.

Inside the final minute, Landon Jenkins nearly picked off a pair of North Oldham inbounds passes. While he came down out of bounds both times, Drury said, “Those plays made (North Oldham) apprehensive.”

Free throws by Penny and Nick Humphries tied things, then after Chris Menefee hit the second of two foul shots for North Oldham to make it 67-66. Penny canned a pair of free throws at 13.9 seconds to give Anderson its first lead of the second half. After North Oldham’s Alex Foley missed both free throws, Penny hit another with 4.8 seconds to go to close out the scoring.

Penny, who had been sick for several days leading into the game, appeared plenty well in scoring 32 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and blocking two shots. “C.J. made the plays we need for him to make in order for us to win big games,” Drury said.

The loss of St. Julien, an ultra-quick guard who ran the North Oldham offense and scored 20 points, proved to be devastating for the Mustangs.

“If he is in at the end, I think we win the game,” North Oldham coach Danny Edelen said.

Edelen also noted that Anderson was able to slow the game down enough to negate the Mustangs’ superior numbers. “I normally play 10-13 players to try to wear the opponent down,” Edelen noted. “When they slowed it down, I didn’t substitute as much.”

North Oldham, which came into the game averaging better than 80 points a game, scored its second-lowest point total of the season. Only Owensboro, which limited North to 64 points on Dec. 28, has held the Mustangs to a lower offensive output than Anderson.

Throughout the contest, the North Oldham demonstrated why it has risen to the Eighth Region’s second spot in the computer rankings. Trailing 28-23 late in the second quarter, North Oldham rallied to take a 32-31 halftime lead when Menefee’s high-arching shot tickled the ropes time expired.

“They are the best offensive team in the region,” Drury said. “Plus their size inside (Feuquay and Dale Tingle are both 6-foot-6) gave us trouble. We did not finish.”

Drury also noted that the Bearcats were without unsung guard Allen Warford, who picked up his second foul with 52 seconds left in the first quarter. Without their quickest defender, the Bearcats struggled to defend North Oldham’s four-guard lineup.

Anderson survived North Oldham’s try for a knockout punch early in the third quarter when the Mustangs upped their lead to nine twice, but Anderson got back within 50-46 at the end of the frame. North Oldham, however, extended the margin to 59-49 and 61-51 on a 3-pointer and layup from Alex Foley, who tied St. Julien for team scoring honors.

“We didn’t play to the best of our ability,” Penny said of getting in the deep hole.”

“They are good,” said Russell, who had also been battling some illness.

Good, just as Anderson is. Later in the week, North Oldham picked up a narrow win at Shelby County, perhaps underscoring the Mustangs’ status as the top threat to Anderson’s first Sweet 16 trip since 1997.

“(Drury) told us we would probably see them again,” Russell said.

“I want to give them a lot of credit,” Drury said. “They are a very good team.”

And, if the draw pans out, one that could be playing Anderson County in the regional championship game?

“There is a lot of basketball to be played,” Edelen said, “but I would take that right now.”

Humphries injured

Reserve center Nick Humphries, who had several key baskets and rebounds against North Oldham, limped off the court in the closing seconds. Drury said later in the week that Humphries had suffered a broken ankle and is apparently lost for the season.

Drury said that Humphries’ presence around the basket will be missed. “You can’t replace someone 6-(foot)-7 and 225 pounds,” he said.

Second half surge fires JV

The Anderson junior varsity outscored North Oldham 20-10 in the second half to post a 39-26 win in the preliminary game. Taylor Trimble paced the Bearcats with 17 points. Tyler Hyatt added 15.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.