Covington Catholic Will Meet Newport Central Catholic for 9th Region Crown
The crowds were electric and the energy was through the roof on Sunday afternoon at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University, but the Covington Catholic Colonels survived the Conner Cougars, and the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds easily beat the Holy Cross Indians to advance to the 9th Region Championship Game on Monday night.
The first session saw the Colonels take down the Cougars by a score of 64-55, despite a valiant attempt by Conner to come back in the second half, though ultimately succumbing to the high-paced Cov Cath offense.
Cov Cath began the game on a 10-2 run behind the hot hands of CJ Fredrick and AJ Mayer, who combined for seven of the Colonels first 10 points.
Conner’s Michael Scott and Spencer Hemmerich got the Cougars closer in the first quarter, trailing the Colonels 15-11 at the end of the quarter.
Cov Cath went on to outscore the Cougars 15-6 in the second quarter behind the shooting of star guard Cole Vonhandorf and Aiden Ruthsatz, who combined for all 15 of the Colonels’ points in the quarter, sending the halftime score to 30-17 in favor of Cov Cath.
Conner came out of the locker room on fire, starting its comeback with a 10-1 run. Despite the run, the Cougars were still down by six at the end of the third quarter.
The Colonels kicked their gear into drive and fended off a Cougar comeback as both teams scored 20 points in the final quarter, sending Cov Cath to the regional championship for the fourth consecutive year.
Cov Cath was led in scoring Vonhandorf with 21 points and Ruthsatz with 18 points. Conner’s Michael Scott led all scorers with 22 points while Spencer Hemmerich added 15 points.
Conner's season ends at 18-11 while the Colonels improve to 28-6 and have won 17 consecutive games.
The second game saw the Thoroughbreds stomp the Indians in rout to the regional championship.
The game began as a defensive battle, although New Cath’s Eric Anderson broke through for seven of New Cath’s 11 first quarter points to put the Breds on top 11-9 after one.
The second quarter was even closer, as Holy Cross’s Will Volpenhein drained two three-pointers to lead the Indians to a run that saw them trail the Breds by only one point at halftime.
The second half turned out to be the Ben Weyer show, as New Cath’s big post man scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, which included leading New Cath on a 22-4 run to end the game and seal the victory for the Breds.
Holy Cross’s Tyler Bezold was held to just seven points for the game, while Leighton Schrand led the Indians in scoring with 11 points.
Ben Weyer led all New Cath scorers with 28 points, while Eric Anderson contributed nine points and Luke Moeves had eight points of his own.
Covington Catholic will face Newport Central Catholic on Monday night at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University at 7:00 p.m. for the chance to punch a ticket to the Sweet 16 at Rupp Arena in Lexington next week.
Written by Clayton Castle, RCN contributor
Photo: Newport Central Catholic bench with Coach Ron Dawn (RCN file)