Wednesday, March 4, 2015
NewCath pulls away from Dixie Heights in 9th Quarterfinals
On the other hand, Dixie Heights Head Coach and 2002 Highlands alum Tara Boothe-Smith hoped the Lady Colonels would handle the vaunted NewCath full and half-court on-ball trapping defense better than the regular season game on Dec. 10. The Thoroughbreds used it to win that game 51-36 in Crestview Hills.
Neither happened in Tuesday's 9th Region quarterfinal game at the Bank of Kentucky Center on the Northern Kentucky University campus. But the bonus for the 36th District runner-up Thoroughbreds is they shot the ball better making 22-of-49 shots for 45 percent on their way to a 65-48 victory.
"These past couple weeks, we haven't shot the ball as well as we have throughout this year," said George Stoll, NewCath Head Coach. "Like many teams, we had to go through some of those snow days. We've finally been able to practice for a week straight without any off days and I think it paid off. We shot the ball extremely well. If you don't get in the gym and shoot for three straight days, it adds up."
The defending region champion Thoroughbreds face Covington Holmes (29-2) in the region semifinals. The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
NewCath ended up shooting 13 more shots and taking 10 more free throws because it recorded 14 steals off 19 Dixie Heights turnovers while yielding two steals on six turnovers. The Lady Colonels made 21-of-36 shots for 58 percent and 5-of-13 free throws for 39 percent.
That more than overcame Tibbs' double-double of 21 points and 15 rebounds. Tibbs also recorded five of Dixie Heights' five blocks.
"Our game plan was to make sure we pressured their guards and made it as difficult as possible for them to just get the ball inside and it started with our full-court press," Stoll said. "We got enough turnovers to get stuff in transition. We didn't do a good job containing Tibbs overall, but we knew that was going to be tough."
Dixie outrebounded NewCath just 29-22. The Thoroughbreds grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.
NewCath's three experienced starters came through big. Senior point guard Michaela Ware scored 23 points and recorded a double-double with 10 assists to go with five steals.
Thoroughbred junior Ansley Davenport added 17 points making two three-pointers with Loren Zimmerman scoring eight points. But NewCath also saw senior Hannah Daunt make two three-pointers on her way to eight points to help out the cause.
"I'm grateful for any minutes I get so I go in there and help the team by making shots," Daunt said. "Sometimes, the shots feel off. I have to make sure I'm balanced. Being a senior, it could be our last game so I wanted to help the team any way I could."
After Tibbs, no one scored in double digits for the Lady Colonels. Freshman Caroline Buddenburg scored six points in the fourth quarter on her way to eight points.
The first quarter was back and forth. Tibbe recorded an offensive rebound to put Dixie Heights up 14-13 with 23 seconds left before Davenport connected on a three-pointer from the left wing with two seconds left to put the Thoroughbreds up 16-14.
The Lady Colonels scored the first two buckets of the second quarter to go up 18-16. But Ware recorded an offensive putback and Davenport made a three-point play to put NewCath up for good at 21-18 with 5:50 left in the half.
NewCath began to pull away with an 11-2 run. That's when the pressure started to wear Dixie Heights down. Ware hit a lay-up in the final minute to put NewCath up 37-28 at halftime.
"I told them it was going to be close to start the game," Stoll said. "You just have to keep battling. The thing about the press is it not just wears on you physically, but also mentally. When you keep on doing it, you get annoyed if you're the other team. We finally got some things in transition. We just used our quickness to our advantage."
The Thoroughbreds then came out and scored the first seven points of the third quarter to grab a 44-28 lead. They led by 16 three times in the quarter. Daunt made another three-pointer with 26 seconds left to give NewCath a 51-36 advantage entering the fourth quarter.
The closest the game came in the fourth quarter was 15 points with 7:20 left. Tibbs had an offensive putback. The Thoroughbreds led 53-38 at that point.
Dixie owns two 34th District championships since Smith took over as head coach in 2011. The Lady Colonels graduate three seniors including Tibbs off this 15-14 squad.