G. Michael Graham Photo. Newport Central Catholic guard Brennan Devoto (23) gets in defensive position in Friday's 60-46 All "A" State Quarterfinal win over Louisville Holy Cross.
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
Many expected the Newport Central Thoroughbreds boys basketball team to use its
size to run away with this All “A” State Quarterfinal contest.
Thoroughbreds (20-2) did that en route to their eighth straight victory. But it
took some time in a 60-46 victory over the 6th Region champion Louisville Holy
Cross Cougars (6-16) on Friday at the Frankfort Convention Center.
started off the season losing its first 14 games. But things turned around in
the All “A” 6th Region Tournament. The Cougars lost five of those contests by
five or fewer points.
used that size to make 27-of-49 shots for 55 percent. That included 15-of-24 in
the first half for 63 percent. Holy Cross made 17-of-44 shots for 39 percent,
including 8-of-20 in the first half for 40 percent.
Thoroughbreds also won the rebounding battle, 33-23 including 23-16 on the
defensive glass. They also rejected six shots to two for the Cougars.
McDonald and Jake Schulte did most of the damage for NewCath. McDonald had 17
points and seven rebounds and Schulte had a double-double of 14 points and 10
rebounds to go with three blocks.
“Our game plan was to make them play up and down,” said Mike Durham, Holy Cross head coach. “We didn’t turn them over as well. But they
got the ball inside. Our biggest kid is 6-foot-2. It’s hard to defend that.
They probably had 15 pounds per kid on us, too.”
did not shoot the ball well from outside making just 2-of-9 shots for 22
percent. Michael Bueter hit both of them on his way to 12 points. NewCath also
made just 4-of-12 free-throw attempts for 33 percent compared to 9-of-12 for 75
percent for the Cougars.
“Teams are going to pinch in and we’re eventually
going to have to knock down some outside shots if we’re to keep winning,” said Grant Brannen, NewCath head coach. “We’ve only made two three-pointers this
whole tournament so far. I think the rest of our opponents have a decent amount
of size so they’ll try to match up with our bigs.”
ventured down the road to battle arch-rival Highlands on Tuesday. The
Thoroughbreds pounded the Bluebirds, 59-22 before beating Somerset, 47-33 to
open the tournament Thursday.
“Playing Highlands right before we came down here was
big,” Schulte said. “It was a great game for us to get our
mindset ready for this. We wanted to show who’s number one in the (36th)
Dominique Mack and Jack Schmitt kept Holy Cross in the game in the first
quarter. Mack finished with 18 points and Jake Schmitt made two three pointers
on his way to 13 points.
Mack had 11
points at halftime. Holy Cross made 3-of-11 three-point attempts for 27
“You had to stay down on (Mack),” said Nick Seibert, NewCath forward. “He was strong like Coach (Brannen) said.
You had to move your feet and make him shoot it over you.”
led most of the first quarter. Schulte had an offensive putback with 1:18 left
in the quarter to give the Thoroughbreds their first lead at 12-11. After
Bueter scored, Schmitt hit a triple with two seconds left to tie the game at 14
after the first quarter.
Thoroughbreds took the lead for good with a 10-0 run to start the second
quarter. McDonald scored twice and Schulte added two more buckets during that
run that gave NewCath a 24-14 lead with 6:14 left in the first half.
Thoroughbreds led by as many as 13 three times in the second quarter. They led
30-17 after a Bueter score and took a 34-21 advantage into halftime after Zach
Pangallo hit Seibert for an alley-oop lay-up with three seconds left.
“You have to give them credit,” Brannen said. “(Schmitt)
hit two big threes there to start (the first quarter) off. Obviously, Mack is a
strong guard. We’ve been having our issues with strong guards this year.
Luckily, in the second quarter, we executed our game plan and got it inside.
That made a difference.”
did trim the margin to nine once at 34-25. But NewCath continued to dominate
inside and expanded the margin to as many as 23 points in the third quarter.
Ben Weyer gave the Thoroughbreds that advantage of 53-32 with an offensive
putback with 1:23 left in the quarter.
held that lead going into the fourth quarter and that gave some reserves
playing time. Holy Cross won the final stanza, 14-7 to make the score more
face the 14th Region champion Knott County Central Patriots (20-3) on Saturday
at 7:30 p.m. back at the Frankfort Convention Center. Knott County Central held
off 8th Region champion Owen County, 57-49 to punch its ticket to the