Story Matters

Story Matters

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

NewCath pulls away for 10th straight against Highlands

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Newport Central Catholic junior Erik Anderson draws a foul in a recent game against St. Henry. The Thoroughbreds defeated the Bluebirds for their 10th straight in the series Tuesday.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Chandler New (3) goes up for a shot in a recent game against Campbell County.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

The visitors wanted to maintain their superiority in the 36th District and the hosts hoped to show they’ve closed the gap.

The game was not out of reach in the first quarter. But in the second quarter, the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (16-3 overall, 3-0 district) sped up the tempo and pulled away for a convincing 83-43 win Tuesday in Fort Thomas over the Bluebirds (6-11, 1-2).

NewCath has won 28 straight against district opponents dating back to a 42-39 loss to Newport in the All “A” 9th Region Tournament title game on Jan. 23, 2010 at Dayton. The Thoroughbreds have five straight wins while the Bluebirds have dropped three in a row.

NewCath has also won six consecutive district tournament championships and 10 in a row in the series. Highlands last beat NewCath, 58-44 on The Hill Jan. 9, 2010.

The Thoroughbreds can now focus on preparing for the All “A” State Tournament. They’ve won it two years in a row and are hoping to become the first team to win it three straight years. The first game is Thursday at 11:30 a.m. against Hancock County.

“It’s tough to schedule games around the All ‘A’ Tournament,” said Ron Dawn, NewCath Head Coach. “Schools have been real cooperative with us.”

Highlands had no answer for the NewCath size. Posts Drew McDonald and Ben Weyer recorded double-doubles. McDonald had 21 points and 11 rebounds and Ben Weyer recorded 15 points and 12 rebounds.

That size allowed NewCath dominate the inside winning the rebounding battle, 39-19. That included 15-5 on the offensive glass. The Thoroughbred either scored or drew fouls on the second-chance opportunities.

“(NewCath) creates a lot of (match-up) problems for a lot of teams,” said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. “Their record and the scores reflect that. I told the kids we wanted to compete and keep our composure. We really wanted to concentrate and I thought we did a good job with those things. We didn’t make it easy for them.”

Highlands doubled and even triple-teamed Weyer and McDonald inside. That opened things up for guards Zack Pangallo and Grant Moeves outside. Pangallo made two three-pointers on his way to 13 points and Moves scored 11. Moeves also had five assists.

“Drew is obviously the best big in the (9th) Region so a lot of teams are going to double and triple team him,” Moeves said. “If the shooters move around to the open area, Drew will find you. He’s a great passer.”

NewCath hit 29-of-54 shots for 54 percent and 18-of-24 free throws for 75 percent. Highlands made just 14-of-42 shots for 33 percent and 12-of-19 free throws for 63 percent.

Highlands still tried to attack the basket offensively. Parker Harris led the way with 10 points.

NewCath scored the first six points of the game and never looked back. The Thoroughbreds led 10-2 before Kenny Ball hit a three-pointer for Highlands with 3:30 left in the first quarter. NewCath led 11-7 at that point.

The Thoroughbreds went on a 7-0 run that concluded with Weyer recording a steal and dunk with 1:09 left in the quarter. NewCath led 18-9 after one period.

“I didn’t think we shot that well in the first quarter,” Dawn said. “Luckily, Drew bailed us out.”

NewCath put the pedal to the metal in the second quarter. The Thoroughbreds put the game away with a 15-0 run. McDonald scored eight points during the run.

NewCath led 46-19 at halftime and 67-31 entering the final quarter allowing both teams to play the reserves. The game hit the running clock in the third quarter.

“We know that’s what teams are going to do to us,” Listerman said of opponents speeding up the tempo. “We’ve handled it at times. Certainly, we can handle it better. I thought we did a good job in the second half of not turning the ball over. We have to continue to improve and get back to work.”

Highlands plays host to Bellevue on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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