January has passed and we are now less than a month away from district tournament play. Let's take a look at last week's action as we jump right in to the 9th region top 10.
1. Covington Catholic (19-4)
Why: The Colonels went 2-0 since the last "Inside the 9th Region" and have now won 8 straight.
Covcath 65 Pleasure Ridge Park 54
Cole Vonhandorf scored a career high 29 points as the Colonels continued their hot streak and knocked off yet another ranked opponent. Andy Flood contributed 14 points in the win, while Matt Schumate was 1 shy of double figures at 9 points. Four different Colonels pulled down 5 rebounds.
Covcath 63 Boone County 49
Trailing at the half, the Colonels used a big second half to pull away from the upset minded Rebels on the road. Bo Schuh led Covcath with 19 points, 8 rebounds while Cooper Theobald finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds.
Nothing has changed since last week. The Colonels continue to be one of the hottest teams in the state as their schedule is putting them in a great position to get ready for a deep post season run. The emergence of Andy Flood and Cooper Theobald this season has taken the Colonels from a good team, to a very good team that can not only win the 9th region, but potentially compete for a state championship with the right draw. Still, we have a month left before that excitement begins. The Colonels are the only team in the region left without a loss to an in region opponent and have not lost a regular season game to a 9th region opponent since Cooper beat them on February 5th, 2013.
Up Next: 2/3 v Scott; 2/5 at Beechwood
2. Newport Central Catholic (20-3)
Why: The Breds went 4-0 this week, winning their third straight All A State Championship.
Newcath 67 Hancock Co 31
John Ludwig, Grant Moeves, and Ben Weyer all finished with 12 points, each, to lead the Breds in the opening round game of the state All A tournament. Drew McDonald finished one rebound shy of a double double as he scored 10 points to go along with 9 rebounds.
Newcath 75 Elliott Co 44
In another blow out win, it was Drew McDonald that led Newcath with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Grant Moeves had another steady showing with 12 points, while tournament MVP Zack Pangallo finished with 11 points.
Newcath 55 Lexington Christian 51
Zack Pangallo led the Breds with 21 points in the semi final win over Lexington Christian. Drew McDonald continued is dominance on the boards as he pulled down 13 rebounds to go a long with 13 points. Ben Weyer was the other Bred in double figures with 10 points, 6 rebounds.
Newcath 78 Monroe Co 36
Continuing the trend of different leading scorer each game, it was Ben Weyer who led Newcath to their third consecutive All A State Championship with 26 points, 7 rebounds. Drew McDonald had 19 points, 9 rebounds, while MVP Zack Pangallo finished with a double double of 12 points, 12 assists.
Nothing happened this week that wasn't expected. Newcath went to Frankfort on a mission and did exactly what they were supposed to do: Dominate. While the Lexington Christian game was a little closer than most predicted, the balance shown by the Breds this week is a great sign moving forward. Everyone knows how good the Big 3 of Weyer, McDonald, and Panglallo are. If they can get consistent production from Ludwig, and Moeves like they did this week along with Eric Anderson, it's going to be tough for anyone, including Covcath, to beat them. The Colonels are getting a lot of love right now, and rightfully so, but even though Newcath isn't playing the same competition, they are developing depth and confidence that will be key if they want to get to Rupp Arena.
Up Next: 2/3 at St Henry, 2/5 at Bishop Brossart, 2/7 v Beechwood
3. Holmes (18-5)
Why: The Bulldogs went 3-0 this week with three double digit wins.
Holmes 70 Ryle 58
Playing without junior standout Marcus Mullins, it was James Bolden who led the Dogs with 26 points. Markel McClendon also finished in double figures with 10 points, despite only playing two quarters.
Holmes 82 Beechwood 60
Holmes trailed at the end of one but completely dominated the rest of the game. Bolden finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds while Marcus Mullins poured in 17 points, and Jason Covington scored a career high 12 points.
Holmes 83 Simon Kenton 59
The back court duo of James Bolden (27 points) and Markel McClendon (23 points) combined for 50 of Holmes' 83 points. Bolden also pulled down 6 rebounds to go along with 6 assists in the win. Rod Avery also reached double figures with 14 points.
After a rough two game stretch against Covcath and Mason County, Holmes seems to have found their offense against lesser competition. When James Bolden plays like he did this past week, Holmes' offense runs much smoother as it takes pressure off others to make plays and they can go with the flow of the game, instead of forcing the issue. When McClendon gets in on the action and scores the way he did in the Simon Kenton game, there aren't too many teams that are going to beat them. It was a quiet week for Rod Avery, for the most part, but Brandon Moore has really stepped up lately off the bench and provided Holmes with a nice change of pace big man at both ends, but especially on offense where he can score around the rim or step out and stretch a defense with his mid range game. This coming week should be a nice test for the Dogs.
Up Next: 2/4 at Dixie Heights (NKYSports.com Live Broadcast), 2/6 v Highlands
4. Dixie Heights (17-5)
Why: Since starting the season 0-3, Dixie has won 17 of 19, including their 3 games this past week.
Dixie Heights 67 Lloyd 35
Andrew Hedger scored 16 points and Austin Schreck added 13 to lead Dixie.
Dixie Heights 52 Simon Kenton 26
Austin Schreck led Dixie with 12 points, while Liam Rabe and Drew Moore both finished with 10 points, each.
Dixie Heights 58 Grant County 39
Moore, Hedger, and Mullin all finished with 11 points to lead the Colonels, while Austin Schreck also reached double figures with 10 points.
While Dixie's offense maybe lacks consistency at times, one thing that has remained a constant all year has been their defense. The Colonels are giving up just 44 points per game. Dixie is starting to show balance offensively, which is a good thing, but as long as their defense continues to play at a high level they are going to be able to compete with and beat almost anyone. The upcoming schedule should give us a better idea of where the Red Colonels stand. Austin Schreck and Liam Rabe continue to be the key to Dixie's offensive succcess. They have solid interior play and a versatile wing in Drew Moore, but those two at the 1 and 2 will determine how far this Colonel team can go.
Up Next: 2/4 v Holmes
5. Cooper (12-6)
Why: The Jags went 2-0 this week to remain at the top of the 33rd district standings with Boone County.
Cooper 71 Conner 50
Sean McNeil paced Cooper with 15 points, 6 rebounds while Dante Hendrix finished with 14 point to lead the Jaguars. Freshman Adam Kunkel scored 12 points with Colin Hathorn contributing 10 points, 8 rebounds. Blake Dickerson had a team high 10 rebounds to go with 7 points.
Cooper 57 Ryle 43
Colin Hathorn was named the NKYSports.com player of the game in the win over Ryle with 17 points, while Sean McNeil contributed 11 points.
Cooper is quietly going about their business. With the two wins this week, Coach Timmy Sullivan's squad has guaranteed themselves no worse than a 2 seed come district tournament time and could still get the 1 seed depending on what Boone does against Ryle and a potential coin flip if the two tie atop the standings. Cooper's trio of guards in McNeil, Hendrix, and Kunkel continue to get better with each passing week. Their guard play is what is going to make them so dangerous when the post season gets here.
Up Next: 2/3 at Newport; 2/6 v St Henry; 2/7 at Franklin County
6. Boone County (15-8)
Why: The Rebels went 2-1 this past week.
Boone Co 71 Simon Kenton 70
Junior Stockwell led Boone with 23 points, 7 rebounds followed by Brenden Stanley with 16 points and both Haven Borkowski and Brett Mayberry with 14 points.
Boone County 70 Conner 65
Brenden Stanley led the four double figure scoring Rebels with 16 points, 10 assists. Junior Stockwell had 13 points, while Elijah Monhollen and Brett Mayberry both had 12 points.
Covcath 63 Boone Co 49
Junior Stockwell led Boone with 18 points, 6 rebounds. Brenden Stanley finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and Haven Borkowski also finsihed in double figures with 13 points.
Overall: While Boone has a nice record at 15-8 they still haven't been able to get that signature win that shows they are a legit candidate to possibly upset someone in the region tournament, should they get there. Junior Stockwell has proved to be one of the best big men in the 9th region but when he goes out of the game, Boone struggles mightily at both ends with no interior presence.
Up Next: 2/5 at Ryle; 2/7 at Louisville Seneca
7. Conner (10-10)
Why: The Cougars went 1-2 this week.
Cooper 71 Conner 50
Jacob Barnes led Conner with 15 points.
Boone Co 70 Conner 65
Jacob Barnes led Conner, once again, with 17 points, followed by Nick Watts, Alec Garnett, and Kyler Padgett with 11 each.
Conner 63 Beechwood 60
Despite getting down 24 points at one point, the Cougars pulled out a win behind 23 fourth quarter points from Michael Scott, who finished with 26 points, 6 rebounds. Jacob Barnes also finished in double figures with 13 points.
it was a rough week for the Cougars as they lost to county rivals Cooper and Boone County to eliminate them from getting a 1 or 2 seed in the district tournament, and then they had to fight their way back from a huge deficit against a Beechwood team that was 1-5 in true road games before coming to Conner. The Cougars have talent and kids who can really fill it up but have now lost 5 of their previous 7.
Up Next: 2/3 at Lloyd; 2/6 v Scott
8. St Henry (14-9)
Why: The Cru went 2-0 this week.
St Henry 77 Villa Madonna 36
Six different Crusaders scored 9 or more points, led by Conner Kunstek with 16 points. Adam Goetz finished in double figures with 11 points, while Jonathon Hungler totaled 10 points in the win.
St Henry 71 Lloyd 53
Paul Wallenhorst led all scorers with 21 points. Adam Goetz added 19 points, and Connor Kunstek chipped in 16.
Same story, different week for the Crusaders. Conner Kunstek was solid again down low and provided consistency, while Adam Goetz ran the show out on the perimeter. If Paul Wallenhorst could consistently play at a level close to what he did against Lloyd, St Henry is capable of beating a few of the teams ahead of them. At this point, they have a number 2 seed locked up in the 34th district tournament but this is a big week for the Cru in terms of competition.
Up Next: 2/3 v Newcath, 2/4 v Newport, 2/6 at Cooper
9. Newport (11-12)
Why: The Wildcats went 1-1 this past week.
Newport 78 Bellevue 48
Ethan Snapp led the Wildcats with 24 points. Freshman Rico Hollis added 14 points, 7 rebounds, while Kedan Davis had 12 points, 6 rebounds. Paul Price rounded out the double figure scoring with 10 points.
Fairdale 57 Newport 56
After fighting back to take a late lead, the Wildcats couldn't hang on as they fell on the road despite getting 27 points from Ethan Snapp. Kam Covington finished with a team high 10 rebounds in the loss.
Newport had the Fairdale game won, but like a few other times this season, struggled to finish down the stretch. Much like St Henry, Newport suffers from a lack of quality depth. Coach Snapp has guys who can go in there and give good minutes defesnsively, but against better teams, the Wildcats seem to struggle to score if Snapp isn't going off for 20 plus. This is a big week for the Wildcats if they want to rise in the rankings.
Up Next: 2/3 v Cooper; 2/4 at St Henry
10. Holy Cross (10-10)
Why: The Indians won their only game this week.
Holy Cross 59 Ryle 46
While I thought about putting Holy Cross ahead of Newport in this week's rankings after a solid win over Ryle, I'm just not sure Holy Cross can handle Newport's athleticism and not sure they have anyone who can defend Snapp. This week could change my mind, however, and you could see the two reversed next week.
Up Next: 2/3 v Highlands
Player of the Week
Many deserving players for this.
Ethan Snapp had a nice week, averaging 25 ppg.
Drew McDonald averaged 15.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg.
James Bolden averaged 24 ppg, 5 rpg, 5 apg.
Zack Pangallo of Newcath also deserves some love here as well for his MVP performance in the All A.