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Cov Cath Rolls on Senior Night, Remains Unbeaten Against Kentucky Teams

Senior night at Covington Catholic was a rollicking good time for the home crowd as the Colonels completed a perfect season against Kentucky schools with a win over defending state champs Madison Central, 78-68, Friday night.

The Cov Cath student section not only came dressed in togas and performed numerous well-rehearsed chants and cheers, but they became an integral part of the game itself with their fervor and constant noise. Madison Central is a team that seemed to rely on direct communication from coach to point guard on every half-court set, and that approach was greatly complicated by all the commotion. Free throws became an act of tremendous concentration and the visiting cheerleaders had no chance to be heard. It felt like being among the Cameron Crazies at Duke.

Beyond the raucous environment, though, Madison Central had to deal with the Colonels terrific guard tandem in Cole VonHandorf and superstar Nick Ruthsatz. The pair once again pressured the opposition with their great quickness to the hoop and their ability to draw fouls. Ruthsatz led the Colonels with 22 points and VonHandorf finished with 21.

VonHandorf set the tone with two quick drives for layups right off of the tip. Then Madison Central packed the paint to force the guards to pass which they did to open forwards who regularly knocked down mid-range jump shots from the wings. The Indians came out cold—perhaps startled by the gym's student section—and it led to an early CovCath lead that they would keep for the remainder of the game.

If it weren't for two players from Madison Central, the game would have been a total blowout. Point guard Cameron Thomas is very long for the position. He is a lean and tall ball handler and quite a leaper, a kind of Anfernee Hardaway prototype. When things were looking bleak early on, Thomas took it right at the Colonels and gave their defense fits. If he were a better free-throw shooter, the game may have been even closer in the end.

As it was, Thomas was the only Indian bright spot and at halftime the score was 38-28. He led all scorers in the game with 23 points.

The other Madison Central player to make a difference was forward Johnson who showed some serious hops on his way to fierce swats and many second-chance opportunities.

The Indians decided to try to play more up-tempo and challenge the Colonels in the open floor. Johnson scored six straight points with some nice footwork on the pivot move and widdled the deficit to four. Like he does so well, though, Ruthsatz sapped the momentum with a sweet off-dribble fade-away jumper from the free-throw line and Cov Cath never let it get that close again.

Cov Cath (25-1) nearly completed an undefeated regular-season with their only loss coming to Fairfield (OH) in January. They are one of only two teams in the state with one loss or less.

They head into post-season play with the district and region's best record. Their next game is against Holy Cross at the Bank of Kentucky Center on February 26 at 6:00pm.

Story & Photo by Bryan Burke, RCN contributor