Story Matters

Story Matters

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

NewCath outlasts Lexington Christian

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Newport Central Catholic's Zack Pangallo (right) goes up for a shot in a recent game against St. Henry. Pangallo scored 21 points in NewCath's 55-51 All "A" State Semifinal win over Lexington Christian on Saturday.

Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter

FRANKFORT – The Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbred boys basketball team was not kidding when it said opponents would not let them blaze through the tournament.

After winning the first two games by an average of 33.5 points, the Thoroughbreds ran into a determined team that hung with them until the very end. But the two-time defending All “A” State champions came through at the end with a 55-51 win over the Lexington Christian Academy Eagles (17-7) in the tournament semifinals. NewCath (19-3) faces Monroe County (22-2) for the championship at 2:30 p.m. Sunday back at the Frankfort Convention Center.

“We have to play well again,” said Ron Dawn, NewCath Head Coach. “It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll be ready to go.”

Lexington Christian came into the game wanting to play better after what happened in last year’s semifinals. The Thoroughbreds ran all over the Eagles in a 78-49 route. But NewCath took advantage of every little play in this one.

Neither team turned the ball over much. The Eagles had seven to five for the Thoroughbreds. But NewCath had five steals to none for Lexington Christian. That led to 13 points off turnovers for the Thoroughbreds to six for the Eagles. Grant Moeves led NewCath with two steals.

Zack Pangallo had another big game for NewCath against Lexington Christian with 21 points. He made 3-of-6 three-pointers.

“We knew when we came down here we had to play hard and play tough because we had the target on our backs,” Pangallo said. “We had to play under control and play our game, especially keeping them off the boards because that was one of the better things they do. I think we did a good job limiting them to one shot.”

Posts Drew McDonald and Ben Weyer did their damage inside. McDonald had a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds and Weyer had 10 points and six rebounds. Weyer also rejected four Lexington Christian shots.

“Drew is a load (in the paint),” Dawn said. “His footwork is great and he has good hands. It helped us a ton.”

The Eagles had some size to match up with the Thoroughbreds. Matt Rose and Drew Trimble led Lexington Christian with 14 points each and Kyle Rode had 11. Rose added 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Lexington Christian shot the ball slightly better making 21-of-45 shots for 47 percent, including 6-of-18 from outside for 33 percent to 19-of-42 for 45 percent, including 5-of-17 from outside for 29 percent for NewCath. But the Thoroughbreds took 18 free-throw attempts to four for Lexington Christian. The Thoroughbreds made 12 for 67 percent and the Eagles hit three for 75 percent.

Rose came out hot for Lexington Christian. He scored on a back-door cut and gave the Eagles a 7-1 lead with 5:45 left in the first. But McDonald and Pangallo warmed up and helped NewCath grab the lead for good.

The Thoroughbreds led 15-14 after the first period before scoring the first 14 points of the second quarter to go up 29-14. Pangallo and Weyer led that run. Moeves started the run with a fast-break three-point play and Weyer had a steal and dunk. The Thoroughbreds led 32-25 at halftime after the Eagles scored six straight points.

Lexington Christian did cut the lead to four once in the third quarter. But Pangallo hit a lay-up with five seconds left in the frame to give NewCath a 49-39 advantage.

The Thoroughbreds still won despite not making a field goal in the fourth quarter. They did it making 6-of-9 free throws.

Rode and Trimble made consecutive offensive rebounds to trim the margin to 49-45 with 4:35 left in the quarter before Pangallo made two free throws.

NewCath led 51-48 with 1:13 remaining before Pangallo hit another free throw. After Rose made a three-pointer at the other end, the Thoroughbreds missed the front end of a one-and-one, but McDonald tracked down the offensive rebound and made two free throws to give NewCath a 54-51 lead.

“I thought we contested well,” Dawn said of Rose’s shot. “He’s going to his weak hand off the dribble and pull up for a three. He just elevates so high that there’s not much we can do. We had a few lapses early where we let him get away, but for the most part, did a good job on him.”

Lexington Christian called timeout with 19.4 seconds left. That’s when Erik Anderson came up big for NewCath deflecting the inbound pass to Moeves. Moeves passed it to Weyer and Weyer made 1-of-2 free throws with 11.9 seconds left in the game.

“I thought they’d be going to Rose because they’d been going to him all night,” Anderson said. “I just kind of lunged (left) and knocked it off my hands and (Moeves) got it.”

NewCath is seeking its fourth title overall. On the other hand, Monroe County is making its first championship game appearance.

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