Sweet Run Ends in Semifinals for Newport Central Catholic
Playing in its first state semifinal appearance since 1954, the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds struggled to find consistency in its offense while unable to get stops on defense, ultimately falling to the (Lexington) Paul Laurence Dunbar Bulldogs 55-47 on Saturday evening at Rupp Arena in Lexington.
The loss ends New Cath’s in the semifinals of the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys Basketball Sweet 16 Tournament. The 'Breds end the season with a record of 30-5.
“Well, it was the tough, physical game that we thought it would be,” New Cath Head Coach Ron Dawn said. “I thought we were right there for most of the game, and we had a chance for a stretch there.”
The loss also marks the last game for seniors Brian Anderson, Eric Anderson, John Ludwig, and Ben Weyer in New Cath jerseys. Weyer will be playing at Bellarmine University, an NCAA Division II program in Louisville.
Dawn said that his team was able to make it this far because of how “close we are.”
“If you’re not a close group, I don’t think you can have it,” Dawn said. “I don’t care how talented you are; if you’re not close and you don’t care about each other, of all the things you need to do in these six months of basketball season, I don’t think you’re going to have success. But we are a close group. They have each other’s back as they say, and they care about each other.”
The game was back-and-forth getting started, with both teams exchanging a pair of baskets until Dunbar pulled off a 10-0 run to take a five-point lead midway through the second half behind strong shooting from junior Taveion Hollingsworth.
After a 10-9 score in favor of Dunbar after the first quarter, the second quarter saw an explosion of scoring, but it was New Cath that took a lead into the locker room at halftime, 29-27.
New Cath was led in scoring at the half by Weyer with 10 points and five rebounds. Hollingsworth had 10 points for Dunbar at halftime as well.
The second half started with Dunbar coming out in full force on offense, going on a 9-3 run to start the third quarter and taking a 38-33 lead with 4:01 left when Jordan Lewis hit a jumper for the Bulldogs.
The Thoroughbreds struggled to find a groove on offense in the second half, turning the ball over nine times. On the game, Dunbar outscored New Cath off turnovers 22-5.
With Weyer getting into foul trouble early in the fourth quarter, forcing him to take a seat, Dunbar was able to extend their lead, although New Cath eventually fought back to get within three points with 2:41 left to play.
However, turnovers came back to haunt the Thoroughbreds and Dunbar was able to cruise to the state title game.
New Cath was led in scoring for the game by Ben Weyer who had 16 points, while Luke Moeves has 14 points. Brennan Hall tossed in 9 points. Weyer was one rebound short of a double-double.
Dunbar’s Darius Williams led all scorers with 20 points, while Hollingsworth contributed 18 points to the Bulldogs’ winning affair.
With New Cath’s loss, the 2015-16 high school basketball season comes to an end in Northern Kentucky. Dunbar advances to the state title game and will face (Louisville) Doss.
Written by Clayton Castle, RCN contributor