It is nothing new for the Covington Catholic basketball team.
The state’s second-ranked team in the latest Associated Press poll has been receiving the best shots from opponents, especially in the 9th Region, starting in 2014 when the undefeated Colonels (8-0 overall) started their run of six region crowns in the last nine years and two state championships. The host Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (5-4) hung with the Colonels for about two and half quarters.
But CovCath ultimately pulled away from the Thoroughbreds using its depth and athleticism for a 78-62 victory. The Colonels used a 17-0 run to finish the third quarter increasing a 43-42 lead to 60-42 lead entering the final quarter.
“The last three games, we kept them close until about after halftime,” said Scott Ruthsatz, CovCath head coach. “Then after we made some adjustments, they didn’t hit shots they were hitting in the first half. We were able to take those missed shots and get some easy buckets down at the other end.”
Turnovers and free throws made a huge difference in the game. Covington Catholic had just eight turnovers and 12 team fouls compared to 18 turnovers and 24 fouls for NewCath. The Colonels outscored the Thoroughbreds, 18-11 off the turnovers and held a big advantage at the free throw line with 23 attempts to NewCath’s seven, outscoring them 17-4 at the charity stripe.
CovCath senior standout point guard Evan Ipsaro did his usual damage, scoring just above his season average with 27 points to go with eight rebounds and eight assists. The Colonels also received a huge game from junior guard Brady Hussey with 16 points.
“We don’t let stuff get to us. We’re too big for that. We keep playing our game,” Hussey said. “We love to run. That’s what we have to do. We’re smaller this year. Evan and I look for each other running up and down the court, get easy buckets and get to the line. We keep it simple.”
The Colonels had nine players score overall, outscoring the Thoroughbreds 29-22 in points off the bench. Senior guard Ayden Link came off the bench to score 10 points with senior forward Colin Detzel and sophomore forward Jake Stewart scoring nine and eight points respectively.
“Coach (Ruthsatz) always says, ‘Next Man up’ so it was my role of stepping up and making plays when (senior starting forward Aiden) Jones was out (with foul trouble),” Detzel said. “(The NewCath posts) played hard. They had a lot of rebounds, especially in the first half. I was trying my best to box out so they couldn’t get the rebounds so one of our guys could at least get it and go. I thought we did that well in the second half and took the momentum.”
NewCath had seven players score and winning the rebounding battle, 36-31. Junior Caleb Eaglin put up a double-double of 14 points and 14 rebounds and senior guard Coby Kramer made four three-pointers on his way to 12 points. Senior Nick Rouse scored nine points with senior Luke Runyon and sophomore Ian Mann scoring eight points each.
“They want to be good. They want to play for each other,” said Jake Luhn, NewCath head coach. “They want to develop the price of admission and what it takes to earn the chance at special. I want them to get rid of anything where they think, ‘Maybe we don’t have this or maybe we don’t have that.’ If we do our part with toughness, togetherness or relentlessness better than anybody else and we call that Bred style, we’ll get at special. What that looks like, I don’t know. But we’ll know it and it will be our ceiling. That’s all you can fight for. They’re doing that. I’m incredibly proud of them.”
NewCath takes on Williamstown (5-3) in the Swauger Holiday Classic at Bellevue at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The Colonels do not play again until Tuesday, Dec. 27 against Riviera Beach (Florida) Suncoast in the Kingdom of the Sun Tournament at 12:45 p.m. in Ocala, Florida.
Bishop Brossart 91, Bellevue 41
Mason Sepate scored a career-high 42 points in the Mustangs blowout victory over Bellevue.
The senior forward hit 16-of-26 shots from the field, 6-of-8 from the 3-point line and all four of his free throw attempts. He was three points shy of the program record for scoring in a single game, Carson Schirmer scoring 45 points in a game.
The Mustangs (6-3) have one more game before taking a break for Christmas, hosting Pendleton County Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.
Bellevue (3-0) lost their fourth straight game after a 3-0 start as they get set to host the Swauger Holiday Classic starting on Wednesday. The Tigers open up with South Oldham at 4:15 p.m.
Other Boys Basketball Scores
Holy Cross 93, Boone County 67
Hillsboro Chrisitian (Ohio) 62, Covington Latin 55
Gallatin County 57, Holmes 44
Holy Cross 55, McCracken County 52
The Indians (8-1) knocked off the second-ranked team in the Associated Press poll in the defending 1st Region champion Mustangs (9-1) to open the Queen of the Bluegrass Tournament at Bullitt East.
Junior 6-foot-2-inch post Julia Hunt led the Indians with 15 points and Myah Wimzie scored 13 points. The Indians made six three-pointers opening things up in the post for Hunt and senior Nejai Lewis. Seniors Sarah Bottom and Elizabeth McCoy made two triples each.
“They went to the state tournament last year, only lost two games and pretty much brought everyone back, so that was a big challenge for us,” said Ted Arlinghaus, Holy Cross head coach. “They have a lot of length. For us to step up and meet that challenge was a big win for us. It will give us a lot of confidence moving forward.”
Holy Cross continues the tournament Tuesday against the third-ranked team in the state in Louisville DuPont Manual (6-1) at 7:15 p.m.
Notre Dame 67, Southwestern 58
The Pandas stayed undefeated at 8-0 with a huge win over the Warriors (3-4) in the semifinals of the White, Greer and Maggard Tournament at Lexington Catholic. Southwestern won the 12th Region and advanced to the state semifinals last year only graduating two seniors.
Senior forward Noelle Hubert led the Pandas with 24 points and six rebounds with senior forward Kendra Collins scoring 11 points. Junior guard Rosemary Miller had nine points and sophomore guard Maya Lawrie had seven points to go with five rebounds and five assists.
“I’m not so much worried about our opponent. I’m more worried about our kids and who’s going to show up based on the fact that we’re so young,” said Kes Murphy, Notre Dame head coach. “That’s the thing we’ve been trying to improve. We started out the season with a C-minus. We’re trying to coach kids up and make sure they understand details and play consistent. We’ve increased from a C-minus to maybe a C-plus. We’re super far from peaking. But the good things is they’re fighting. They’re super fun to watch.”
Notre Dame has the challenge of playing the fourth-ranked George Rogers Clark Cardinals (6-1) in the tournament championship at 8 p.m. Tuesday back at Lexington Catholic.
Other Girls Basketball Score
Ryle 67, Louisville Central 55