1. Newport Catholic (12-1)
Why: The Breds went 1-1 this week but the one win was a dominant performance, while the loss came to one one of the best teams in the state.
1/2: Newcath 80 Newport 51 - The Breds continued to show why they have been #1 since the preseason, as they put it on Newport in the teams’ most balanced effort of the season. All five starters were in double figues as Michael Bueter led NewCath with 20 points, Drew McDonald 12 points, Nick Seibert and Jake Schulte 11 points, and sophomore Zach Pangallo chipped in 10 points.
1/4: Trinity 59 Newcath 42: Grant Brannen’s squad was able to keep it close for 3 quarters but Louisville Trinity, ranked top 5 in the state, was able to pull away in the 4th quarter with their quickness and defensive pressure. Drew McDonald led the Breds with 12 points, while Jake Schulte finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds.
Overall: Newcath stayed #1, despite dropping their first game of the year. In the Newport game, they dominated a very good, athletic team at both ends of the court and are really hitting their stride. They have been very good through the first 13 games. Trinity didn’t factor in to the rankings at all for the simple fact that Trinity is top 5 in the state and loaded with talent, led by D1 recruit Daryl Hicks.
Next: Newcath hosts Covcath Thursday night in a game that features 2 of the top 3 teams in the region. The game can be seen live on NKYSports.com and will be our Game of the Week. Saturday night (1/12) the Breds will be back in action at home against the Campbell County Camels in a county rivalry game.
2. Holmes (16-0)
Why: And then there was one. Holmes only played one game this week, but improved their winning streak to 16 games and are now the only undefeated team left in the state.
1/4: Holmes 68 Holy Cross 65 - The Bulldogs put on absolute clinic in the first half. After getting down 9-2 early, they closed the half on a 46-14 run and went in to the locker room up 25 at 48-23. Second half was a completely different story however, as the Indians mounted a come back and tied the score at 65 with a little over a minute left. Sophomore James Bolden would then hit the eventual game winning three with 1:11 left. Holy Cross got two more possessions but could’t capitalize. Holmes was led by Chris Englemon’s 21 points, while Bolden chipped in 16 points, 9 assist, and 6 rebounds. Senior Quan Palmer, who fueled the first half run with three consecutive treys, finished with 16 points.
Overall: In the Holy Cross game, the Dogs showed just how good they can be as they were completely dominating a very good Holy Cross team. In the second half, they showed that on any given night, they can be beaten. Still, it is going to take a very good shooting performance for a team to beat Holmes. When Holmes is able to play in transition and speed the game up, there isn’t a team in the 9th region that can hang with them.
Next: This coming week will be telling as to just how good Holmes is. They start the week on Tuesday night on the road at #3 Covington Catholic in a huge 35th district game that could decide who gets the all important #1 seed in the district tournament. Friday night, 1/11, the Dogs will host #4 Cooper in another game that pits two of the top teams in the region.
3. Covington Catholic (13-1)
Why: The Colonels won both games they played on the road this week to improve to 13-1.
1/2: Covcath 64 Chaminade-Julienne, OH 49 – The Colonels travelled to Dayton and got the win behind 25 points from Nick Ruthsatz. Sophomore Bo Schuh chipped in 12 points, while Zach Tobler finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds.
1/4: Covcath 61 Beechwood 38 - In a 35th district seed game, the Colonels travelled to Beechwood and knocked of the Tigers behind 19 points by Nick Ruthsatz and 11 from Sawyer Pauly.
Overall: It was another successful week for the Colonels as they continued to play well and get solid contributions from their entire roster. Nick Ruthsatz continues to keep his name in the player of the year conversation with two big scoring performances. Ruthsatz is putting up big numbers but it is someone else stepping up each game to compliment the talented junior that is making this team so tough to defend.
Next: The Colonels will face arguably their toughest stretch of the year this week. Tuesday night, they host #2 Holmes in a big 35th district seeding game that could ultimately decide who gets the #1 seed in the district tournament. The Colonels have lost 10 straight to Holmes dating back to 2007. Thursday night, 1/10, Covcath turns around and travels to #1 Newcath in a nky rivalry game. This game can be seen live on nkysports.com as it is our game of the week.
4. Cooper (11-3)
Why: The Jags were at home this week and picked up two wins.
1/2: Cooper 52 St Henry 40 - It was the Cooper bench that rallied the Jags to the win. Trailing 23-18 at the half, Coach Sully used his bench to spark the team, led by Drew Shelton who finished with a game high 15 points in the win.
1/5: Cooper 67 Highlands 39 - On a Saturday afternoon, the Jags held Highlands to their third lowest scoring output of the year, which has become a common theme when teams play Cooper. Zach McNeil led the Jags with 21 points, while Lou Maniacci finished with 12 points, and Aj Collins chipped in 11 points.
Overall: Cooper hasn’t been putting up huge scoring numbers like the teams ahead of them but one thing that has been constant with this team has been their defense. Through 14 games, Coach Sullivan’s squad is giving up just 46 ppg. If they continue to play defense that way, it will be tough to beat them come tournament time.
Next: The Jags will be on the road Tuesday 1/8 at Beechwood, before closing out the week Friday 1/11 on the road at Holmes in a game that pits two of the top 4 teams in the region. Another undefeated week by the Jags could move them up in the rankings.
5. Dixie Heights (10-5)
Why: The Colonels went 2-1 this week and became the 5th team in the region to get to double digit wins at 10.
1/2: Dixie Heights 79 Australia Travel Team 30
1/4: Dixie Heights 56 St Henry 45 - The Colonels won a 34th district contest on the road, led by Brandon Hatton, who finished with 25 points. Sophomore Nick Niehaus, who has been battling injuries, also finished in double figures with 10 points.
1/5: Louisville Doss 67 Dixie Heights 62 - The Colonels travelled to PRP in Louisville but couldn’t come away with the win as they lost by 5 to one of the better teams in the 6th region. Brandon Hatton led Dixie with 41 points, while also suprassing the 2,000 point milestone in this game. Alex Milligan chipped in 10 for the Colonels in the loss.
6. Holy Cross (8-6)
Why: The Indians went 1-1 during the week.
1/2: Holy Cross 65 Ryle 54 - It was the Tony Campbell show as he finished with his second triple double at the season at 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks in the win. Senior Christian McClendon also finished in double figures with 18 points.
1/4: Holmes 68 Holy Cross 65- Holy Cross was down 25 at the half but came out swinging in the second half, coming all the way back to tie the score at 65 with a little over a minute to go. The Indians got two possessions after James Bolden of Holmes hit a 3 to put Holy Cross down 3, but 3 point attempts by Tony Campbell and Christian McClendon were off the mark.
Overall: Outside of a rough first half against Holmes, Holy Cross was very impressive this week. Tony Campbell continues to dominate at both ends, fueling this team. He has been playing down low more which is opening things up more for his teammates. The better he plays, the better Holy Cross supporting cast is. This is a team that nobody in NKY will want to have to get by come district or regional time if they advance to that point.
Next: The Indians will host Bishop Brossart Tuesday night in a big NKAC Division II game and travel to Madison Central Friday 1/11 in a game against a top 5 team in the state.
7. Newport (9-4)
Why: The Wildcats were 1-1 this week, with one of their losses being to 9th region’s #1 team and the win coming against a team outside the top 10.
1/2: Newcath 80 Newport 51 - Rough night for the Wildcats. They were able to keep it close for one half, but were completely out-matched in the second half, dropping their 4th game of the year. Cody Peason led Newport with 15, while Jasean Short added 13 points. The Wildcats tied their lowest scoring output of the year in this game.
1/4: Newport 60 Ludlow 54 - The Wildcats improved to 9-4 behind 16 points from Jasean Short. Marquise Commodore added 12 for Newport while Cody Pearson finished with 10 points.
Overall: Newport obviously isn’t on the same level as some of the elite teams in the region but they continue to win. The 6 point win over Ludlow was what dropped them down to #7. Nothing against Ludlow, but with the type of athletes Newport has, they shouldn’t struggle with a team like Ludlow. Still, this is the same team that went toe to toe with Dixie and Holmes earlier in the year and also knocked off Holy Cross.
Next: Newport will host Highlands Tuesday 1/8 in a 34th district battle in their only game of the week.
8. Ryle (7-7)
Why: It was a rough week for the Raiders as they went 0-2 this week.
1/2: Holy Cross 65 Ryle 54 - In a game that wasn’t as close as the final score, the Raiders were victims of a Tony Campbell triple-double and a big road loss. Drew Mays led Ryle with 19 points but Tanner White with 14 points was the only other Ryle player to get in to double figures scoring.
1/5: North Oldham 78 Ryle 61 - Another tough night for the Raiders on the road as they fell by 18 to North Oldham, despite getting 21 points from senior Drew Mays.
Overall: Ryle at 7 or 8 is about as high as you will see them in the rankings. They have a very good scorer in Drew Mays and solid role players with Tanner White, Will Stuhr, and Mark Fussenger but simply don’t have the depth needed to beat some of the better teams in the region. This was on full display against Holy Cross as they really struggled with the full court pressure.
Next: Ryle will be at home Thursday 1/10 against Highlands and Saturday 1/12 against Pendleton County.
9. Conner (6-6)
Why: The Cougars went 1-1 this week but had a decent showing against one of the state’s best teams.
1/3: Conner 55 Australia Travel Team 45
1/5: Madison Central 66 Conner 51 - Conner was down 18 at the half and outscored Madison Central by 9 in the third quarter to cut the lead to 45-36, but they couldn’t complete the comeback as Madison Central was too much in the end. Madison Central is a top 5 team in the state.
Overall- While it’s tough to take much away from a 15 point loss, it should be a sign that Conner is improving. They had the MC lead down to 9 twice in the 4th quarter before the Indians finally pulled away. Conner is a team that has the talent in their front court to compete with any team in the region but will need to get strong play from their bench and guards if they want to notch some big wins that move them up in the rankings. The Dixie win continues to be their only signature win.
Next: The Cougars will be at home this week Tuesday 1/8 against Campbell County and Friday 1/11 against Seneca, out of Louisville.
10. Boone County (8-7)
Why: The Rebels make their first appearance in the top 10 after winning 5 of their last 6.
1/3: Boone County 55 Mason County 50 - The Rebels rallied from a 42-38 deficit at the end of three to pick up their 8th win of the season. Boone got solid contributions from Jesse Schulz and Brennen McDonald to take the lead and pull away in the 4th quarter. Boone was led by Brennen Stanley’s 21 point, while McDonald finished with 13 points.
1/5: Holy Cross 66 Boone County 50 - The Rebels were outmatched in this one as they couldn’t stop Tony Campbell. Boone was only down 9 at the half, but were outscored 18-6 in the third quarter which put the game out of reach. Brenden Stanley led Boone with 14 points.
Overall: Boone is a very young team but are finally starting to come along, winning 5 of their last 6 games. The Rebels move in to the top 10 due to Highlands dropping 5 of their last 8 and losing big to Cooper Saturday with a short handed roster.
Next: Boone will travel to Campbell County Thursday 1/10 and host St. Henry Friday 1/11.
Top games this week:
#2 Holmes at #3 Covington Catholic
This is a big 35th district rivalry game that could decide who gets the #1 seed in the district tournament, while putting to rest the argument of whether or not Holmes’ 16-0 record is a product of their talent or schedule.
Bishop Brossart at #6 Holy Cross
This game features two top 10 teams in Northern Kentucky and also has big implications in the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference Division II standings. Great test for both teams.
#3 Covington Catholic at #1 Newport Catholic
In the NKYSports.com Game of the Week, the Colonels will travel to “The Hill” to take on the #1 Breds. This is another 9th region game this week that will feature two of the top 3 teams in the region. You can watch the game live under the webcasts link at nkysports.com.
#4 Cooper at #2 Holmes
Tim Sullivan, former Holmes assistant and grad, returns to his former school to take on the #2 Bulldogs in a game that features two of the top 4 teams in this week’s 9th region rankings. With Holmes’ having a big game against Covcath Tuesday, this could be an opportunity for Cooper to get a signature win that moves them up in the rankings.