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Photos & Recaps: Bluegrass Classic - New Cath v. Cov Cath, Holmes v. Cooper, Scott v. Dixie

The first of the three matchups at the BB&T Bluegrass Classic on Friday night at BB&T Arena in Highland Heights on the campus of Northern Kentucky University, was between Dixie and Scott.
 
The game was originally scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.; however; due to an accident on I-275 East, Dixie's team bus was stuck in traffic which delayed the start of the contest. The team didn’t arrive to the arena until just minutes before 5:30. The Colonels didn’t let the chaotic travel experience affect their play on the court.
 
Dixie and Scott were going back and forth for the first four minutes of the game. The score was tied at 8 with three minutes to go in the 1st quarter when Dixie started firing on all cylinders.
 
They closed out the quarter with an 11­-0 run, making the score, 19­-8. Scott came out in the 2nd quarter and made a nice surge, cutting the score to 22­-17. It looked as if Scott was going to make it a close game. However, Dixie countered that surge with a 9­-2 run to close out the half, making the score, 31­-19.
 
Dixie (12-5) took the momentum from the first half and put together a dominant second half performance. They quickly widened the margin and cruised to a 51­-27 lead by the end of the 3rd quarter.
 
The 4th quarter was much of the same. In a game that was never really close, Dixie beat Scott (6-11) by the score of 58-­29.
 
Dixie played well offensively, but it was their defense that put on a show. They played suffocating defense on the perimeter thanks a really athletic backcourt, according to Coach Chevalier. “The positioning and athleticism of our guards up top makes it difficult for a team to get into a flow. Especially a team like Scott who likes to get into the lane,” said Chevalier.
 
The night started as a bit of a cluster for Dixie, but ended with an impressive win over Scott.
 
Holmes v. Cooper
 
The second game of the night was between Holmes and Cooper. It was a little more suspenseful than the first one between Dixie and Scott. Both teams shot well and went back and forth in the 1st quarter.
 
It was apparent right away that both teams came to play. Cooper was able to make a few stops and jump out to a 13-­9 lead. However, a timely three from Brandon Engelman at the end of the 1st quarter cut the lead to 13­-12. Not much changed in the 2nd quarter as both teams stayed pretty even. However, Cooper did score two baskets at the end of the half to give them a 25-­20 lead heading into the locker room.
 
Cooper seemed to be in control of the game throughout, but every time it looked like they were going to pull away, Holmes was able to hit a couple of shots to keep them in the game. Towards the end of the 3rd quarter, Cooper scored back to back baskets to give them a 39­31 lead. But once again, Engleman knocked down a big three for Holmes that cut the lead to 5. The score at the end of the 3rd quarter was 39­-34, Cooper.
 
The game stayed tight through the majority of the 4th quarter, but Cooper (15-2) never relinquished the lead. With four minutes to play, Cooper finally started to pull away. They had pushed their lead to 51-­41 and they never looked back. They were able to knock down some free throws and finish the game strong. The final score was 60-­47.
 
Holmes (8-7) played Cooper tough throughout the game. No matter what Cooper did, Holmes just wouldn’t go away. On the same token, Cooper never really gave up control of the game. Every time it looked like Holmes was going to make things interesting, Cooper would knock down a big shot. Both teams played hard, but Cooper came out on top in the end.
 
Covington Catholic Vs. Newport Catholic
 
The third and final game of the night was between Newport Catholic and Covington Catholic, a must-see matchup over the last few seasons. Of all three games played Friday night, this one generated the most buzz in the arena. Both fan bases seemed fired up, and they were rewarded with a fun game to watch.
 
Both teams played well to start the game, trading basket for basket. At the end of a very exciting 1st quarter, the score was tied 14­-14. That would continue as the score was tied 18­-18 at about the 4-­minute mark of the 2nd quarter. It was then that we finally saw a team separate a little bit.
 
Cov Cath put together a nice 12-­4 run to close out the first half. They carried a 30-­22 lead into the locker room.
 
Everybody in the arena knew that New Cath would have a run of its own in the second half. Sure enough, about 1 minute into the 3rd quarter the game was tied 30­-30 after three quick baskets from New Cath. After some more back and forth, Cov Cath was able to regain the lead.
 
The score was 41-­38 in Cov Cath's favor as the 3rd quarter came to a close.
 
Cov Cath (12-6) started the 4th quarter hot as they scored 6 straight points to further their lead to 47­-39. New Cath (12-3) would cut the lead back to 6, but that's as close as they got. Cov Cath would go on to win by the score of 58­-43 thanks to their ability to close it out at the foul line.
 
Don’t let the score fool you, this game was close throughout most of the night. Cov Cath was able to pull away at the end, but it was back and forth until about the 4-minute mark of the 4th quarter. These are two very good basketball teams who will see each other again. 
 
Story by Patrick Henke
Photos by Brian Frey
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