High School Basketball

Late-season injury helped Oldham County build postseason confidence

Oldham County senior Branden Dewitt, left, brought the ball up the floor during a game against Simon Kenton in February.
Oldham County senior Branden Dewitt, left, brought the ball up the floor during a game against Simon Kenton in February. The Oldham Era

The 101st Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen basketball state tournament tips Wednesday at Rupp Arena in Lexington.

Below is the team profile for the Oldham County Colonels, who will meet the McCracken County in the first round at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

OLDHAM COUNTY

Region: 8th

Record: 29-5

Enrollment: 1,646 (844 boys)

Coach’s résume

Coy Zerhusen is 128-32 in five seasons at Oldham County. He’s led the Colonels to their first 8th Region title since it went back-to-back in 2011 and 2012, two years before he took the helm.

Probable starters

2) Andre Brewer, 5-10, Sr., 8.2 ppg

10) Jackson Gibson, 5-10, So. 15.7 ppg

22) Travis Henderson, 6-4, Sr., 15.9 ppg

23) Zach Larimore, 6-3, Sr., 11.8 ppg

34) Christian Harper, 6-4, Jr., 6.8 ppg

How they got here

Oldham quickly established it was ready to stake its claim in the 8th Region by winning its first 12 games, most of them double-digit victories. After falling to South Oldham in its first in-state loss, Oldham got revenge in the postseason, routing South Oldham in both the 29th District and 8th Region finals. The Colonels beat South Oldham, 71-56, for the 8th Region crown.

Players to watch

Travis Henderson and Jackson Gibson, both three-year starters, provide the leadership and the spark for the Colonels attack. They each passed 1,000 career points during the regional tournament. “Jackson has been our leader from the get-go,” Zerhusen said. “He’s a little undersized, but he plays a lot bigger than he is. He just makes a lot of basketball plays getting to the paint and finishes really well in there.” Henderson doesn’t shoot the most threes, but he’s made the most, shooting at a better than 40 percent mark for the season.

Addition by (temporary) subtraction

Gibson, the team’s point guard, went down for three weeks with an injury late in the season. The team only lost one game during that stretch as other players stepped up. “We just got a lot more comfortable. Some of our role guys had to play some minutes when some of the others were in foul trouble,” Zerhusen said. “The guys stepped up and figured out how to make plays and it really did build our confidence. … We’ve got a really good group of seniors that have been through a lot of battles.”

Sweet history

The Colonels have made 15 trips to the Sweet Sixteen, the last two coming in back-to-back years in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, a young Oldham group with only three seniors got knocked out in the first round, but it reached the program’s third-ever semifinals the next year, falling to eventual state runner-up Scott County. Oldham made five straight appearance in the late 1980s. Only eight other schools have longer streaks.

Chris Ware | Herald-Leader staff
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