RICHMOND, Ky. – Winning championships takes a total team effort and that is exactly what the St. Henry boys and Bethlehem girls basketball teams got in their effort to repeat as All “A” Classic state champions.
St. Henry (15-2) defeated upstart Clinton County 74-57 for the Crusaders’ third All “A” crown in school history and second in as many seasons.
Bethlehem (20-4) bested Walton-Verona 53-43 for the team’s second straight All “A” title victory over the Bearcats.
St. Henry found itself trailing Clinton County 16-14 despite Wyatt Vieth scoring 10 in the opening quarter.
Both teams battled for control early in the second quarter with St. Henry going up 23-20 with 6:02 remaining in the quarter before Vieth picked up his second foul with 5:35 to go in the second quarter.
Head coach Dave Faust would sit his star player until less than a minute left in the half, but the Crusaders came together and extend their lead to 35-28 during that stretch without their leader on the court.
St. Henry would shoot 8-for-12 from the field in the second quarter and would the rest of the game.
Vieth would lead all scorers with 27 points on 12-of-16 shooting including 1-for-1 from 3-point range as well as 2-for-3 from the charity stripe on his way to winning Most Valuable Player honors.
Jude Bessler, Ryan Butler and Cody Teten would join Vieth on the All-Tournament team for the Crusaders.
Bessler scored 13 points and was followed by Teten’s 11.
Clinton County (18-3) was led by Nick Delk’s 19 points and five rebounds.
Blake Melton came back on Saturday morning after sitting out most of the second half of the Bulldogs’ semifinal win due to an injury.
Melton tallied 11 of his 17 points in the second half. Nick Brown also joined in the double figures scoring column for head coach Todd Messer’s crew with 10 points.
Bethlehem had four players score in double digits and gave up just five turnovers on their way to winning the girls All “A” title earlier in the morning.
Ella Thompson would be named the MVP of the tournament scoring 12 points and hauling in seven rebounds in the finals.
Xaviara Smalley also scored 12 points and grabbed 8 rebounds off the bench for the Banshees.
Bethlehem would lead by seven multiple times in the first quarter, but Walton-Verona (15-7) would keep fighting and would eventually gain a 24-22 lead with 5:15 left in the second quarter.
The Bearcats’ lead was short as Smalley’s jumper 10 seconds later would tie the game at 24-24.
Walton-Verona went cold and did not score again until 0:49 remaining in the half.
The Banshees would take a 38-31 lead into the fourth quarter and knocked down 7-of-11 free throws to seal the victory.
Walton-Verona’s Maggie Buerger led all scorers with 14 points and Haylee Neeley notched 12 points on four 3-pointers.