The All “A” 9th Region boys quarterfinals at Beechwood featured a tight one and a lopsided battle to determine which teams made it to the semifinals Friday at 6 p.m.
The first game had the St. Henry Crusaders (6-8) knock off the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (9-8), 61-57 in a rematch from Dec. 3 in Erlanger that NewCath won 70-57. The Crusaders have won four of their last five games since losing seven in a row.
“I thought we took control early. Then they outhustled us and made three’s off offensive rebounds,” said Dave Faust, St. Henry head coach. “They play hard for 32 minutes. They don’t give you anything easy. We made some shots. We got a few breaks and they missed some shots in there. It was almost a carbon copy (of Dec. 3) except we came out on top.”
The difference in this game was in the paint as the Crusaders won that battle, 24-14. Both teams made 20 field goals. NewCath hit seven three-pointers to four for St. Henry. But the Thoroughbreds committed 26 fouls to 16 for the Crusaders. St. Henry made 17-of-30 free throws compared to 10-of-12 for the Thoroughbreds.
Senior guard Jack Grayson led the St. Henry effort with 21 points to go with three steals and three blocked shots. Senior Matt Resing followed with 14 points. Senior 6-foot-6 center Braden Fedders added 10 points and senior guard Ethan Kaiser scored nine. Grayson and Resing led the Crusaders with seven rebounds each.
“They’re a really good team,” Resing said. “We just trusted each other. We didn’t play as well as we should have. (NewCath) came down and hit one so we knew we had to match that.”
NewCath also had balanced scoring. Sophomore Ian Mann came off the bench to score 14 points. Senior guard Koby Kramer scored 12 and senior George Simons added 10 with senior guard Luke Runyon scoring eight.
“I said to our athletic director (Jeff Schulkens) leaving the gym it’s a tall task beating Dave Faust once in a year,” said Jake Luhn, NewCath head coach. “I told the guys I was proud of them. They laid it on the line. Playing hard for us is the price of admission. As a coach, I need to find Coby Kramer more. But you have to credit St. Henry and the game plan. They did a great job with him.”
Both teams tried to play hard-nosed man-to-man defense recording 10 steals and eight assists each. St Henry had 21 turnovers to 18 for NewCath. The Crusaders won the rebounding battle, 26-22. Mann led NewCath with seven rebounds and Kramer had four assists.
The game stayed tight with NewCath leading all but the final 1:05 of the fourth quarter. That is when Grayson gave the Crusaders the lead for good with a layup. Fedders hit two 2-of-4 free throws to increase the lead to 60-57. After missing the fourth of those free throws, Resing grabbed the offensive rebound and Kaiser made a free throw with 13.9 seconds left to make the final score.
“We just needed a spark at the end and I just took the opportunities,” Grayson said. “I let the game come to me. We’re lucky the shots went in. It goes back to practice going against your teammates. It’s good when practice translates to the game.”
Faust is in his 31st season as the head coach of the Crusaders with a record of 457-380. The 457 wins is three shy of the 9th Region record held by Highlands and Northern Kentucky University legendary head coach Ken Shields at 460. He said he’ll find this out when someone tells him.
The second game stayed tight in the first five minutes of the game when the host Beechwood Tigers (5-10) hit three jumpers to only trail 8-7. But once the Tigers stopped hitting jumpers, the athletic Newport Wildcats (13-3) finished the quarter with a 13-0 run to pull away.
The balanced Wildcats had nine different players score. Senior forward Marquez Miller and freshman point guard Taylen Kinney scored 18 points each. Junior guard Jabari Covington scored 14 points and freshman 6-6 power forward James Turner scored 12, eight of them coming on four dunks.
“We all get along together. I feel like we all can talk to each other,” Turner said. “A lot of people say we have a lot of excitement on our team. We can dunk and hit threes. We have nice moves to get the crowd going.”
Newport shot a blistering 65 percent from the field. The Wildcats dominated the boards, 35-17. Turner nearly had a double-double with nine rebounds. Newport led 39-18 at halftime and 69-38 entering the fourth quarter.
“These guys seem like they’re more unselfish to where they do want to run sets and take good shots,” said Rod Snapp, Newport head coach. “We do work on reversing the ball, being patient and getting good shots on set screens. We have guys that can slip and role, attack the paint. They work on their game.”
Beechwood saw two players score in double figures. Senior Cameron Boyd scored 23 and freshman Cash Harney scored 10. The Tigers struggled shooting, hitting just 38 percent of their field goals including 25 percent from 3-point land and 50 percent of their free throws.
“Newport is a good team. They came out ready to play,” said Erik Goetz, Beechwood head coach. “We didn’t match their intensity.”
Beechwood is still looking for its first win of 2023. The Tigers have lost five in a row.
Newport and St. Henry meet in Friday’s first semifinal at 6 p.m. The winner heads to Saturday’s championship at 7 p.m.
Highlands 68, Simon Kenton 50
The Bluebirds (13-5) downed the Pioneers (11-5) making 11 three-pointers including 10 from senior guard Will Herald on his way to 32 points in the non-region win.
“It was a great comeback after the loss to Newport (on Saturday),” Herald said. “We had a couple great practices. We changed some things up on offense and defense making the team we’re playing against have to try to push the ball and not be able to run their offense. Even though it is very tiring for us, it showed that it worked.”
Junior 6-foot-6 center Brody Benke scored 10 points and junior guard Nathan Vinson scored nine. Highlands head coach Kevin Listerman credited Vinson and senior Seth Ryan for running plays well. The Bluebirds scoring output was well above what Simon Kenton is used to giving up, the Pioneers allowing 49 points per game and the Bluebirds 68 points the most they’ve given up to date this season.
“Simon Kenton is really good playing a 2-3 zone with (7-3 center Gabe) Dynes in the middle,” Listerman said. “They try to extend it. We did a great job making decisions finding the right guys at the right times. Credit to (Herald) for sliding into those openings and making those shots.”
Junior guard Travis Krohman and Dynes came into the game averaging 15.5 and 11.9 points per game. They scored 11 points each. Senior guard Isaac Gabbard picked up some of the slack leading Simon Kenton with 17 points.
Both teams play again Friday. Highlands plays host to Dixie Heights (3-8) at 7:30 p.m. and Simon Kenton plays host to Walton-Verona (11-4) at the same time.
Other Boys Basketball Scores
Mason County 77, Campbell County 73
North Oldham 67, Dixie Heights 37
Walton-Verona 96, Williamstown 75
10th Region All “A” Tournament Semifinals at Paris
Bishop Brossart 74, Calvary Christian 16
Newport Central Catholic 65, Scott 48
The Thoroughbreds (10-5) downed the visiting Eagles (8-7) behind 41 points from sophomore guard Caroline Eaglin. Junior guard Delaney Green added nine.
Scott saw 10 different player score. Senior forward Kayla Overman led the way with 10 points.
NewCath plays host to Highlands (11-5) on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Scott plays host to Fleming County (5-9) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Bishop Brossart 69, St. Patrick 52
Bishop Brossart is headed to the 10th Region All “A” finals after their victory over St. Patrick (9-6) on Tuesday at Paris. The Mustangs (11-5) got a balanced effort in the victory as they shot 7of-13 from 3-point land and knocked down 20-of-26 free-throw attempts.
Zoee Myers led the way with 23 points, Bella Rowe adding 15, Molly Kramer with 13 and Jill Planeaux chipping in 12.
The victory gets them into Thursday’s championship against Bracken County (9-9), who upset Paris in Monday’s semifinals.
Other Girls Basketball Scores
Bellevue 48, Dayton 27
Beechwood 61, Holmes 11
Lloyd Memorial 58, Boone County 46
Highlands 63, Newport 22
Ludlow 65, Villa Madonna 33