Covington Catholic claims fourth straight district title

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Beechwood pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the state on Wednesday by beating Holy Cross in the 35th District semifinals.

They were close to doing it again on Friday, but the Tigers came up short in the championship against Covington Catholic, 61-53.

Just over a month ago, the Colonels defeated Beechwood 70-52. The margin wasn’t quite as big this go around as it was a one-possession game with under a minute to go.

Jack Sullivan, the hero from the semifinal game for Beechwood, started the scoring off with a three, but he would score just once the rest of the game.

Covington Catholic started to find their groove near the end of the first by taking an 18-14 lead heading into the second quarter. Once the Colonels took the lead, they never surrendered it.

It was a physical contest with Beechwood climbing back by hitting five straight free throws to cut the lead to five. With just two minutes remaining in the first half, the Tigers leading scorer Cameron Boyd got his first basket. The senior finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

Beechwood’s Logan Wermuth scored a team-high 16 points. Brandon Wheeler | LINK nky contributor

It wasn’t enough to bother the Colonels though. They extended the lead to eight heading into halftime.

“I tell everybody to keep their head, even though sometimes I’m not the best at it. I lose my cool a little bit, but coach is just on the sidelines telling everyone to calm down and that everything will be fine. They do a good job of keeping us under control.” Covington Catholic senior Evan Ipsaro said.

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Out of the locker room, Beechwood made a run led by some huge buckets from Logan Wermuth. Wermuth led the Tigers with 16 points.

Ipsaro, the 35th district tournament MVP who had 17 points at the half, couldn’t be
stopped. The star senior pushed the Covington Catholic lead to 10 with two baskets on back-to-back possessions.

The Colonels had all the momentum with their largest lead going into the fourth quarter.

In just three minutes, Beechwood fought back to cut the margin to seven. Wermuth had
something to do with that. He hit another three, followed by two free throws from Boyd.
This series of events made it a five-point game with under two minutes left.

Colonels senior Aiden Jones finished off a 3-point play to make it a six-point Colonel lead with a minute to play, but Andrew Goodwin nailed a triple to make it 56-53 with 50 seconds to play.

It was up to Ipsaro to close the game and he did. He calmly knocked down two free throws that put the game out of reach.

“I know it was a close game, but it’s just like free throws in practice every day. It’s not really any different than that. You just got to have confidence.” Ipsaro added.

CovCath wins the 35th District Championship for the fourth straight season.

The Colonels were led by Ipsaro with 31 points. He was grateful for the other district
championships, but this wasn’t the same.

“It means a lot. This was my last time playing in this gym. I told everyone in the locker room this is the last time we’re going to be here so leave everything out on the court.” Ipsaro said.

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Covington Catholic goes into the Ninth region tournament as one of the four district winners, joining Newport, Lloyd Memorial and Cooper as a one seed.

Beechwood will go in with Conner, Highlands, and St. Henry as the two-seeds.

COVINGTON CATHOLIC – 18-15-12-16 – 61
BEECHWOOD – 14-10-11-18 – 53

Covington Catholic (61) – Ipsaro 31, Link 10, K. McGillis 9, Ruthsatz 6, Jones 5
Beechwood (53) – Wermuth 16, Boyd 12, Kelly 12, Goodwin 6, Sullivan 5, Blackburn

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