Sweet Sixteen: Hopkinsville beats South Oldham 74-52

mfields@herald-leader.comMarch 6, 2013 

South Oldham's neon-green warm-up shirts with a Superman logo didn't strike any fear in Hopkinsville in the 96th KHSAA Sweet Sixteen on Wednesday night.

Hopkinsville smothered the Dragons 74-52 for its 24th consecutive victory.

Maybe Hopkinsville had Kryptonite in its socks, or maybe its day-glo orange sneakers counter-acted South Oldham's power.

Nah.

It was simply the Tigers playing like they have for the last two months while winning their way to Rupp Arena for the second year in a row.

Last March, Hopkinsville looked like a talented but young team in a first-round loss to Southwestern.

In their return engagement Wednesday night, the Tigers (32-4) looked at ease and in control as they used their superior size, quickness, jumping ability and tenacity to dominate South Oldham.

Hopkinsville Coach Tim Haworth said his team committed itself last summer to getting back to Rupp Arena to "show Lexington and everybody else that we've come here to play, we're not going to be timid, we're going to take it to people and not be scared."

The Tigers, who struggled on offense here last year, shot 64 percent (29 of 45) this time around.

They were led by 6-foot-3 senior Jordan Majors' 20 points and 6-2 sophomore Jaqualis Matlock's 18 points and 17 rebounds.

Sophomore point guard Tra Edwards had 16 points.

Matlock, who has a huge wingspan, said he "felt like a giant going up there and getting (rebounds)" against the smaller Dragons.

South Oldham, the 8th Region champ making its first Sweet Sixteen appearance in the school's 24-year history, hung around for the first six minutes, but then got buried under a 19-1 avalanche.

Hopkinsville's big run included a pair of three-pointers by Majors and eight points by Matlock.

The Tigers' defense kept South Oldham back on its heels most of the night. The Dragons hit some shots with regularity in the fourth quarter, but still finished at just 29 percent (19 of 65).

Haworth praised the defense of Edwards, whom he calls the best defender in the 2nd Region, and how his point guard is willing to sacrifice his scoring for the good of the team.

South Oldham Coach Steve Simpson said Hopkinsville was "a big difference in athleticism in the 8th Region and other parts of the state." Hopkinsville "was very athletic, strong and physical," he said.

The Dragons earned some consolation by forcing the Hopkinsville's starters back in the game midway through the fourth quarter. The Dragons trailed 69-40 when Majors, Matlock & Co. went to the bench. South Oldham ran off nine quick points to make it 69-49, and Haworth put his main guys back on the court with four minutes left.

Matthew Haysley led the Dragons with 14 points. Devonte Jones and Shae Goodlett had seven apiece.

Goodlett, a 6-0 senior, can usually maneuver inside against most teams, but he couldn't against Hopkinsville. "I couldn't jump over them or anything like that," he said.

Simpson said South Oldham's loss "doesn't dampen the success we've had this season." The Dragons finished 24-8.

Mike Fields: (859) 231-3337 Twitter: @MikeFieldsNotes Blog: fieldsnotes.bloginky.com

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