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Dan Weber: All "A" 9th Region Girls Tournament Features State's Top Scorers

Dan Weber writes a sports column for The River City News. Contact him at

Headlining the 32nd annual Girls All “A” Classic Ninth Region Basketball Tournament this week will be Kentucky’s top two scorers -- Newport Central Catholic's Rylee Turner, at 28.8 ppg, and Ludlow's Jenna Lillard at 26.4 ppg. The tourney gets under way Monday evening at 7 with the Villa Madonna-Bellevue game with the winner advancing to a Tuesday quarterfinal against Beechwood at 7:45 following the Ludlow-St. Henry game that tips off at 6 p.m.

On Wednesday in the bottom half of the bracket, Dayton-NewCath tip off at 6 followed by Newport-Holy Cross at 7:45. Semifinals will be Friday at 6 and 7:45 with the championship game Saturday at 7. All games will be played at Ludlow.  

NewCath’s Turner has been leading scorer the last two years with 139 points in six tournament games with her 28 and 27 points the last two championship games the two highest scoring finals games in the previous 31 years.

With 15 All “A” Classic wins, NewCath has been the most successful here with Holy Cross next in line with 12 championships followed by St. Henry with two, and then Newport and Walton-Verona with one each. Holy Cross won the first in 1991, NewCath the last two in 2020 and 2021.

*** REMEMBERING NKY AT UK: There may be no Northern Kentucky players on the 10-win UK football team that finished off a memorable season with a 20-17 Citrus Bowl win over Iowa but the memories of area Wildcats who died far too young were strong at Saturday's game in Orlando. There was Jared Lorenzen, the "hefty lefty" quarterback from Highlands and Edgewood, who died at the age of 38 in 2019 after a record-breaking career at UK, and former offensive line coach and four-year O-lineman John Schlarman, also from Highlands, who died at 45 after a two-year battle with cancer in 2020. Both were beloved in this modern Wildcat program and remembered Saturday for what they did for UK football. 

*** NOW WHAT FOR NKU? If last Thursday's 11-point home comeback win against a 2-9 Green Bay team seemed to be a big pick-me-up for the somewhat staggered Norse team trying to get to a winning record, not sure what the response will be after Saturday's blown 17-point second-half lead to a now 4-9 Milwaukee team in a 61-55 loss at BB&T Arena that saw NKU shoot a miserable 18.8 percent from the field in the second half, missing 14 of their first 15 shots after intermission while getting outscored 38-18 the final 20 minutes. And that despite the best all-around game of the season for NKU freshman Sam Vinson, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball a year ago, who recorded career highs of 18 points and six rebounds. Tough times in Highland Heights right now as the Norse fall to 5-8 and 1-3 in the Horizon League.

*** NO DOUBLEHEADER MONDAY AT TMU: The Saints host Shawnee State Monday night at the Connor Athletic Center but for just one game now instead of two. The 6 p.m. women's game has been postponed because of Covid-19 issues so that now the men's originally scheduled 8 p.m. game will tip off at 6 p.m. with the 13th-ranked Saints (12-2) hosting defending national champion Shawnee State in a single game.

*** COVCATH WINS 1 MORE, FINISHES 2-1 IN FLA: The now 12-2 Colonels finished up with a winning record at the Battle at the Villages, winning Game 3 there against the host Villages Charter team, 81-60, to come away with third place. CovCath was led by 6-foot-8 Mitchell Rylee's 25 points with point guard Evan Ipsaro adding 20 points and five assists with 6-6 Chandler Starks adding 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

*** HOLY CROSS’S MEYER TOPS STATE SCORERS: In the KHSAA's latest stat report, Holy Cross guard Jacob Meyer upped his average to 41.5 points a game, jumping ahead of Robertson County's Justin Becker, who is hitting for 40.4 points a game. On the girls’ side, Notre Dame's Noelle Hubert is the top three-point scorer in the state with 4.0 a game.

*** MAYER, MORGAN BOWLING: Tough loss for Notre Dame and first-game head coach Marcus Freeman, the former Cincinnati defensive coordinator. After leading Oklahoma State by 21, 28-7, in the first half at the Fiesta Bowl, the Irish faltered for a 37-35 loss. But that was hardly the fault of Michael Mayer, Notre Dame's All-American sophomore tight end out of CovCath. In a year where he set the record for receptions by a tight end, Mayer finished with two TD catches among his seven receptions for 72 yards despite constant OSU double-teams.

*** Ryle alum Tanner Morgan, who has announced he’ll be back for a sixth season to lead Minnesota at quarterback next year, presided over a ball-control ground attack 18-6 win over West Virginia in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field in Phoenix last week. Tanner completed eight of 13 passing for 109 yards with one interception for the 9-4 Golden Gophers.  

--Dan Weber