As far as rivalries in Northern Kentucky go, it doesn't get better than Covington Catholic and Holmes basketball. The two schools have locked horns nine times over the last three years, and have appeared in three straight 9th Region Championships against one another. Just like last year, though, the Colonels battled past a determined Holmes team in a packed Bank of Kentucky Center and won the 9th Region Championship, 45-37.
“In the end, our guys just hunkered down,” CovCath coach Scott Ruthsatz said after winning his second straight 9th Region Championship. “We told them after the first that we would need to be much more aggressive. We established that early in the second half and after that we were able to get them to miss shots, get out in transition and get some easy baskets.”
The theme of this tournament was defense, as the tenacity and hustle by every team involved had raised with its competition. For Cov Cath, more specifically, the theme has been zone defense because each team they've played in the 9th Region tournament decided that it was the smartest approach. That was no different on Tuesday night against Holmes.
The Bulldogs typically play man-to-man defense thanks to their incredible quickness on the parameter that often keeps guards from penetrating, but they followed the lead of both Newport and St. Henry and played a 2-3 zone. Coach Ruthsatz said yesterday that his team had to be more aggressive attacking the zone and not settle for jump shots, and when they did, they were better.
But it took defense of their own to really nail down a scrappy Bulldogs team that had previously taken out considerably bigger teams in NewCath and Dixie to get to that final game.