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This yearís All A Tournament did not disappoint. Several games came down to the final possession and the Newport Wildcats had to play hard and communicate defensively in order to win the tournament. I believe that since Newport had to execute late in these games, it may have prepared them for tough competition at EKU.

The regionís top two teams do have big games this week as Covington Catholic hosts Campbell County and Cooper travels to Conner. This is an exciting time of year as we see the various districts solidify their post-season seeds.

1. Covington Catholic (16-5): Covington Catholic went 2-1 last week against Ryle and two Cincinnati schools. This team seems to be putting it together pretty well. The Colonels host the Campbell County Camels on Tuesday; this was a highly anticipated game but the Camels may not be a good as we once thought they were. Covington Catholic has a district game as well when they host the Holmes Bulldogs on the 25th.

2. Cooper (16-3): Coach Sullivanís boys went 2-0 last week defeating Highlands and Boone County. The Highlands win is significant because Highlands is the only school in the Bluegrass State to beat Covington Catholic. That victory closed the gap a little between #1 and #2 but it will take a little more for the Jaguars to surpass a team that beat them in head to head competition. Cooper has two games this week including two district matchups before playing the All A regional champions.

3. Newport (17-4): Itís hard to win four games in a week, but the Wildcats accomplished it. The Wildcats will represent the 9th region on the 24th in the All A State tournament. We wish them the best of luck.

4. Beechwood (16-3): The Tigers are disappointed that they did not advance in the All A tournament. Coach Goetz will convince his boys that there is more to play for this season as the Tigers are in position to get a favorable seed in the district tournament. Beechwood plays Frederick Douglas and Newport Central Catholic this week.

5. Highlands (11-9): The Bluebirds went 2-1 this week and played Cooper well in their loss. Itís hard to figure Coach Listermanís boys out, they were within single digits in the 4th quarter against a solid Cooper team but beat a, not so solid, Holmes team by only 10. Highlands has two district match-ups this week against Newport Catholic and Bellevue.

6. Conner (9-8): Conner is riding a three-game winning streak including victories over Ryle and Dixie Heights. I was surprised that the Dixie score was so close, but a three-game winning streak is nice to have. Conner will be tested when they host Cooper on Wednesday. The Cougars may have closed the gap a little and this game might be the big one to watch. Conner has enough good shooters on their squad to keep this game close, but they have yet to play a defense as solid as the Jaguars.

7. Newport Central Catholic (9-9) Newport Catholic deserves to move up a spot because of the way they played Newport High. As the 9th region writer, I make it a point to see everyone play in person, but there is a time span where I depend on posted stats and the Boys' Basketball Forum to determine where teams and players rank. I knew that Evan Mullikin was the Thoroughbredís leading scorer, but I did not see him in person until the Newport loss. The boy is much better than I realized. He is not afraid of the defense and will attack the rim with both aggression and control. I would put him in the top 3 players in the 36th district, a district with a lot of talent.

8. Lloyd Memorial (12-4): Lloyd did nothing to deserve a drop, but the Breds just played so well against the Wildcats that this was a byproduct. Lloyd has a good win/loss record, but weíll see how they fair against Dixie and Holy Cross this week. Those two teams are better than the recent handful of games that the Juggs have won.

9. Holy Cross (6-11): The Indians ended what seemed like a lifetime skid by nearly running the table in the All A regional tournament. Coach Grammerís boys played with intensity and courage in a hostile environment. Holy Cross has a big district match against the Holmes Bulldogs on the 22nd.

10. St. Henry (8-10): The Crusaders are playing better at this point in the season. They play three 10th Region teams this week, including two from the 37th district. St. Henry currently is 2-0 in the 34th District.

11. Holmes (4-14): Holmes is not winning any games, but they are losing by less points recently (that is supposed to be a compliment). The 11th and 12th spots are interchangeable at this points and Holmes did beat Dixie at the beginning of the year. Coach Carrís team plays Ryle, Holy Cross, and Covington Catholic this week and they could get their 5th win.

12. Dixie Heights (6-13): Another week goes by and Dixie is still sitting at 6 wins. The Colonels only have one victory since the beginning of the New Year. They have not posted any stats since January 8th and I hope they are not phoning the season in. The Colonels can beat Lloyd to be a middle seed in the district tournament. There is still a pathway that leads to NKU.

13. Ryle (4-13): Ryle had a close game against Conner. The Raiders play Holmes and Cooper this week.

14. Boone County (5-15): The Rebels got a win this week against Fleming County. Boone County has a rough stretch ahead against Simon Kenton, Conner, and Covington Catholic.

15. Bellevue (5-14): I saw the Tigers play Lloyd on Saturday. Tommy Ratterman can shoot the three well even with someone in his face. A lot of teams would love to have him setting his feet in the left corner.

16. Ludlow (9-8): Ludlow gave up 80+ points for the second time this year to St. Henry. They still have had an admirable season and can finish with a winning record. Itíll be interesting to see if they can compete with Lloyd or Dixie.

17. Villa Madonna (7-12): The Vikings should be able to beat Silver Grove this week before playing the Ludlow Panthers.

18. Dayton (4-15): The Devils seem to be in the Abyss still. They will try to beat Silver Grove to get to five wins.

19. Covington Latin (1-9) Latin did not play this week. They must be opting out of everything associated with being a team in Kentucky. They did not participate in the All A and they are not playing any District games despite being assigned to the 35th District.

20. Heritage Academy (1-14): Heritage lost to Evangelical and Portland this week.