1. Holmes (18-0)
Why: The Bulldogs went 2-0 this week with both wins coming against top 5 teams.
1/8: Holmes 71 Covcath 60 - Behind 27 points and 7 assists from sophomore James Bolden, the Dogs improved their winning streak to 17 and wrapped up the #1 seed in the 35th district. Bj Coston scored 17 points, all in the first half, while senior Chris Englemon had a double double with 14 points, 12 rebounds.
1/11: Holmes 50 Cooper 44 - Holmes trailed by 3 at the end of the first quarter but would outscore Cooper by 9 the rest of the way to improve to 18-0. James Bolden led all scorers with 17 points, while BJ Coston and Quentin Chames both chipped in 10 points, apiece. Chris Englemon had a game high 12 rebounds.
Overall- People were questioning Holmes’ schedule coming in to this week. With the two wins over #3 Covcath and #4 Cooper, Holmes has proved that they are indeed the best team in the region and their record is a product of their talent, and not a “soft schedule.” With BJ Coston starting to come around and Quentin Chames having his best game to date, this team becomes that much more dangerous. James Bolden continues to prove that he is an elite level talent in this region but it is the leadership of seniors Quan Palmer and Chris Englemon that are carrying this team. The Bulldogs are 4 wins away from tying the 2009 state championship record of 22 consecutive wins.
Next: Holmes will be on the road this week Tuesday night against Mason County and Thursday night against Scott in a rematch from the Stop DWI Classic Championship, held the third week of December.
2. Covington Catholic (14-2)
Why: The Colonels went 1-1 this week against the top 2 teams in the region.
1/8: Holmes 71 Covcath 60 - In a big 35th district contest, Nick Frederick’s 18 points weren’t enough to help the Colonels get the win. Nick Ruthsatz chipped in 12 points, while Zach Tobler finished with 10 points. Sophomore Bo Schuh was close to a double double with 9 points and 9 rebounds.
1/10: Covcath 50 Newcath 48 - In the NKYSports.com game of the week, the Colonels knocked off the previous #1 team in the region after Nick Ruthsatz came up with a big steal to prevent Newcath from getting off a final shot. Bo Schuh was named the player of the game with 12 points. Both Nick Ruthsatz (12 points) and Sawyer Pauly (10 points) finished in double figured in the win.
Overall- The Colonels move up one spot in the rankings with the upset win over previous #1 Newcath. In their two games they proved that they are more than a one man team as Nick Ruthsatz had arguably his two worst games to date. Still, the junior stepped up with big plays and buckets when his team needed him to. The Colonels are becoming more complete with each week as Sawyer Pauly, Nick Frederick, Bo Schuh, and Zach Tobler are all consistently at or right around double figures in scoring each night.
Next: Covcath will travel to Highlands Monday night (1/14), before heading to Scott Co Thursday night against Elizabethtown to open up the Toyota Classic. The Colonels are scheduled to play there Thurs, Fri, and Sat night.
3. Cooper (12-4)
Why: Cooper went 1-1 this week but the loss came to the #1 team in the region in a close game.
1/8: Cooper 60 Beechwood 27- In a game that was never close, the Jags rolled to win #12 behind 19 points from junior Zach McNeil and 13 points from senior AJ Collins.
1/11: Holmes 50 Cooper 44- Despite battling some injuries, the Jags put up a fight against the new #1 team in the rankings. Zach McNeil led the Jags, once again, with 13 points and AJ Collins also reached double figures with 10 points but it wasn’t enough. Cooper led by 3 at the end of one, but two Holmes’ runs in the 2nd and 3rd quarters ended up being the difference.
Overall: Cooper moves up one spot in the rankings to #3 because of how well they played against Holmes. This team might not be the flashiest to watch offensively, but they flat out get after it on defense and held Holmes to their 2nd lowest scoring output of the season. McNeil and Collins continue to play well at the guard positions and will only get better as the season progresses. This is a team nobody will want to see on their side of the bracket come region tournament time.
Next: The Jags will be back in action Thursday night at home as they host county and 33rd district rival, Boone County in their only game of the week.
4. Newport Catholic (13-2)
Why: The Breds went 1-1 this week, losing to the new #2 team in the rankings.
1/10: Covcath 50 Newcath 48- The Breds led throughout but after senior Nick Seibert went out with an injury, they simply couldn’t withstand a late Covcath rally. Newcath tied the game at 48 with under a minute to play, but a Zack Tobler lay up and 2 turnovers ended up being the final outcome. Drew McDonald was the game high scorer with 21 points, while sophomore Zach Pangallo also reached double figures with 12 points. Jake Schulte was one point away from a double double as he finished with 9 points, 11 rebounds.
1/12: Newcath 68 Campbell County 64 - It was once again the Drew McDonald show as he paced the Breds with a game and career high 27 points in the win. Michael Beuter chipped in 13 points, while Jake Schulte finished with 9 points, 9 rebounds.
Overall: Newcath fell to #4 in this week’s rankings, not because I think they are the 4th best team at full strength, but because I don’t see them beating any of the teams ahead of them without Nick Seibert. Seibert, who suffered an injury in the Covcath game, is expected to be out around a month and with him out, I think they are the 4th best team right now. If Newcath is going to be successful, they will need to continue to get solid production out of sophomore Zach Pangallo and senior Colin Dupont. Pangallo finished with 9 points in the Campbell County game, while Dupont finished with 8 points, which should be a good sign for Breds fans.
Next: This is a big week for the Breds as their Monday night game against Villa Madonna at Dayton kicks off the 9th Region All A Classic. With a win in that game, they would play Bellevue in the second round and then play Friday in the semi finals, with the championship being Saturday night.
5. Holy Cross (9-7)
Why: The Indians wen’t 1-1 this week against two teams that are considered to be top 2 in their region.
1/8: Holy Cross 55 Bishop Brossart 41- The Indians picked up a big home win against the 10th region All A favorite, Mustangs. Senior Tony Campbell scored a game high 20 points in the win, but it was the 6 points of Will Knochleman in the 4th quarter that helped seal the win for the Indians.
1/11: Madison Central 72 Holy Cross 53: In a game against a top 10 team in the state, the Indians simply didn’t have enough to get the win. The one bright spot was senior Tony Campbell, who finished with his third triple double of the season. Campbell had 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Freshman Markel McClendon also reached double figures with 14 points in the loss.
Overall: Since the second half of the Holmes game, Holy Cross has been playing very well at both ends of the court, which is why I moved them up to #5. It’s tough to take much away from the Madison Central game since they are loaded with talent and were able to come away with a 19 point win, despite playing without their best post player. The Indians schedule has been extremely tough to date and will help them when the post season gets here.
Next: Holy Cross will open up the 9th region All A Tuesday night against the winner of the game between Beechwood and Covington Latin.
6. Dixie Heights (11-6)
Why: Colonels went 1-1 this week.
1/8: Dixie 65 Ludlow 52- The Colonels picked up a 34th district win behind 35 points from junior Brandon Hatton. Sophomore Liam Rabe also had his best game of the year as he poured in a career high 14 points.
1/11: Scott 73 Dixie 64- Brandon Hatton dropped 29 on the Eagles and senior Cam Ruehr had 15 points but a 7 point deficit at the end of the first quarter ended up being the difference.
Overall: Dixie’s inexperience and youth is going to likely have them anywhere from 5-7 on a week to week basis in the rankings. At times they look like a top 5 team but other times, they have you wondering why a game is close or why they lost to a team they shouldn’t. The talent is definetly there and they have the best player in the region in Brandon Hatton. That is why they check in at #6 this week.
Next: The Colonels will travel to Scott County Wednesday 1/16 to play Montgomery Co in the opening round of the Toyota Classic. They are also scheduled to play the 18th and 19th, as well.
7. Newport (10-4)
Why: The Wildcats went 1-0 this week.
1/8: Newport 60 Highlands 42- It was the Short Brothers show as junior Jaquan Short poured in 25 points, while senior Jasean Short finished with 15 points in the win. Newport led by 17 at the half and never looked back.
Overall: I probably could have put the Wildcats at #6 this week after the impressive margin of victory over Highlands but the head to head loss to Dixie is what landed them at #7. Still, this is a team that could make things very tough for an opponent if they get the right draw and get in the region tournament. The Short Brothers can put up points in a hurry and both Pearson and Commodore are solid compliments to those two.
Next: The Wildcats will open up the All A Classic Monday night against Lloyd, with the winner facing St. Henry.
8. Ryle (8-8)
Why: The Raiders went 1-1 this week.
1/10: Ryle 64 Highlands 55- Ryle was able to gradually pull away throughout behind the play of Mark Fussennegger, who finished with a game high 20 points. Tanner White (14 points) and Will Stuhr (13 points, 10 rebounds) also reached double figures in scoring, while Stuhr finished with a double double.
1/12: Pendleton County 56 Ryle 55
Overall: After starting off the season hot, the Raiders have cooled off and lost 7 of their last 10 games. While they were favored against Highlands, the final margin is a little surprising. The loss to Pendleton County is a bad loss. No other way around it. The Wildcats are a solid team, but not one that Ryle should lose to.
Next: Ryle will look to get back on track Friday night (1/18) in a 33rd district game against county rival, Conner.
9. Conner (6-8)
Why: The Cougars lost both of their games this week.
1/8: Campbell County 55 Conner 51- Three Cougars reached double figures in scoring, but it wasn’t enough to pick up the win. Sam Hemmerich (16 points), Drew Barker (13 points), and Brady Padgett (10 points) were the bright spot for the Cougars.
1/11: Seneca 80 Conner 66- It was the third straight loss for the Cougars as Sam Hemmerich poured in 33 points but it wasn’t enough as Landon Lamblez (12 points) was the only other Conner players to reach double figures.
Overall: Conner still hasn’t hit their stride, despite having one of the better front courts in NKY with Barker, Padgett, and Hemmerich. All three have consistently been in double figures scoring, but a lack of consistency from the guard position has been their down fall through the first month and a half of the season.
Next: Conner will travel to Pendleton County Tuesday night (1/15) before hosting Ryle Friday (1/18) in a big 33rd district and county rivalry game.
10. Boone Co (10-7)
Why: The Rebels have won 8 of their last 10, including 2 wins this week.
1/10: Boone Co 49 Campbell Co 35- A 19-4 second quarter was the difference for the Rebels, after trailing 12-8 at the end of one. Brenden Stanley had 18 points for Boone, while Junior Stockwell chipped in 11.
1/11: Boone Co 38 St. Henry 37- In an ugly offensive game, Brenden Stanley led Boone with 15 points. Stanley hit the go ahead free throw with 5:12 left in the game and neither team scored again.
Overall: Boone continues to win and they are currently one of the hottest teams in the region. The only question is, how good are they? The only good 9th region teams they have played, Holy Cross and Newcath, both beat them by 16 or more.
Next: The Rebels will have a chance to prove themselves this week with games on the road at Scott (1/14), at Cooper (1/17), and at Highlands (1/19). The game against Cooper is a 33rd district seed game.
Top Games this week:
Holmes at Scott
Boone County at Cooper (33rd district seed game)
9th Region Semi Finals 6:00
9th Region Semi Finals 8:00
Ryle at Conner (33rd district seed game)
9th Region All A Classic Finals 7:00
Both the semi finals and finals of the 9th Region All A Classic can be seen live on nkysports.com under our webcasts link.