St. Henry Knocks Out #1 Covington Catholic in Instant Classic

  By: Troy Howell
For Bluegrass Basketball

 “Where is St. Henry?”  
That’s a question I got a lot this year on twitter when people saw the Crusaders were ranked so high. Even though they won the All “A” State Championship in 2020 and 2021, many people didn’t seem to know much about the school.

I’ll tell you where St. Henry is.

They are in the 9th region semifinals.  

Wyatt Vieth saw to that.

Vieth, the team’s senior leader came out of nowhere to block Evan Ipsaro’s shot at the buzzer to give St. Henry a 61-60 over #1 Covington Catholic in the first round of the 9th region tournament. Everyone in the gym knew the ball was going to Ipsaro. The Covington Catholic sophomore had scored 32 points and was red hot in the 2nd half.


“We knew it was coming to (Ipsaro) and I just saw him coming across the lane and I knew he was going to pull up, so I just tried to make a good contest and I ended up tipping the ball,” Vieth said. “It ended up being good for us.”

It certainly was.

Despite having beaten Covington Catholic by one point earlier this year and breaking the Colonels’ 27-game win streak against 9th region teams, only 30% of people on a recent twitter poll picked the #4 ranked Crusaders to knock off #1 Covington Catholic. The Colonels had won 3 straight 9th region tournaments and most people expected them to do it again.  

The game was exciting from start to finish. St. Henry raced out to a 16-8 lead behind a great start from big man Cody Teten. Teten scored six early points and helped negate Covington Catholic’s height and muscle advantage inside. The Colonels rallied behind the shooting of Ipsaro and the inside play of Mitchell Rylee to pull within one point at halftime.

St. Henry opened up an eight point third quarter lead before Ipsaro heated up to put the Colonels up by five.

The fourth quarter saw Ipsaro and St. Henry point guard Cory Shea put on a brilliant shooting display in a back-and-forth contest. Shea made three clutch 3-pointers down the stretch, including a 4-point play. Ipsaro’s driving, contested layup gave Covington Catholic a 60-59 lead with 14 seconds left.  

 St. Henry responded with a Cody Teten layup to go up 61-60 with five seconds left.  


After a couple of timeouts, Ipsaro raced down the court but found himself surrounded by Crusaders. That’s when Vieth made the block at the buzzer to preserve the victory. Vieth was down on the court for about a minute before getting up and walking to the crowd to celebrate.

“I hit my knee,” Vieth said. “I think I hyperextended my knee, but it should be good by tomorrow. Just ice and ibuprofen and it should be good.”

Covington Catholic’s loud and well-known student section, the Colonel Crazies, were out in full force, and both teams had good, loud crowds. Vieth said the Crusaders fed off the great atmosphere.

“It’s incredible having all those fans there,” Vieth said. “I love the Colonel Crazies; I know they are a big thing in Kentucky basketball. I love the atmosphere. It was awesome. When they are barking at us, I eat it up. We all love it. It just makes us play better, honestly. We came together and got the win.”

Teten finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. He was 8-for-13 from the field. Vieth added 15 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks in the full 32 minutes. Ipsaro led all scorers with 32 points on 12-of-18 shooting.  

The Colonels season ends at 24-4. They have a very bright future, losing only 1 senior starter. Ipsaro, a sophomore, will return along with Mitchell Rylee, Chandler Starks and several other key players. Two of their three in-state losses were to St. Henry, both by identical 61-60 scores and both decided on the last play. Vieth’s old fashioned 3-point play with one second left was the difference in the first game.

For St. Henry, it doesn’t get any easier. They play #6 Highlands on Wednesday at 6:00 P.M. at Covington Holmes. Highlands knocked off Ryle 104-62 in the first round. #18 Dixie Heights and #25 Conner will meet in the other semifinal.

St. Henry, who was not ranked in most major preseason rankings (except KSR, where they were #9 in the preseason rankings), has put themselves on the map this year. Their seniors saw to that.


2021 KABC Regional Players and Coaches of the Year Announced

The Kentucky Association of Basketball Coaches along with the Kentucky Lyons Eye Foundation released the list of region player and coach of the year for both boys and girls basketball on Friday morning.

The individuals honored with representing their school and region as player of the year are also the finalists for the Mr. and Miss Basketball awards that will be announced on April 18..

The Mr. Basketball award was first given out in 1954 while Miss Basketball has been awarded since 1976.

Only dues-paying members of the KABC are eligible for the coach of the year award thus making their players eligible for their award.

All award winners are listed below including the runner up in each region for player of the year. The importance of that list is that those players will also be considered when selections are made later this year to fill out the roster for the Kentucky All-Stars in the annual Kentucky/Indiana All-Star Series.

2021 KABC Boys Basketball Region Player of the Year

Region 1 – Noah Dumas (McCracken County) & Zion Harmon (Marshall County)

Region 2 – Destin Allen (Webster County)

Region 3 – Nash Divine (Muhlenberg County)

Region 4 – Isaiah Mason (Bowling Green)

Region 5 – Jaquias Franklin (Elizabethtown)

Region 6 – Devin Perry (DeSales)

Region 7 – Cameron Pope (Male)

Region 8 – Kelly Niece (Simon Kenton)

Region 9 – Sam Vinson (Highlands)

Region 10 – Grant Profitt (Scott High)

Region 11 – Ben Johnson (Lexington Catholic)

Region 12 – Kade Grundy (Somerset)

Region 13 – Jevonte Turner (Knox Central)

Region 14 – Jaz Johnson (Wolfe County)

Region 15 – Isaiah May (Johnson Central)

Region 16 – Mason Moore (Rowan County)

2021 KABC Girls Basketball Region Player of the Year

Region 1 – Cayson Conner (Marshall County)

Region 2 – Sadie Wurth (Henderson County)

Region 3 – Aleigha Mucker (Breckinridge County)

Region 4 – Lucy Patterson (Warren East)

Region 5 – Ella Thompson (Bethlehem)

Region 6 – Tiarra East (Butler)

Region 7 – Taylor Price (Louisville Central)

Region 8 – Brynna Blackburn (South Oldham)

Region 9 – Brie Crittendon (Ryle)

Region 10 – Mya Meredith (Scott High)

Region 11 – Brooklyn Mile (Franklin County)

Region 12 – Macey Blevins (Wayne County)

Region 13 – Mikkah Siler (Williamsburg)

Region 14 – Lexy Lynch (Owsley County)

Region 15 – Katie Moore (Floyd Central)

Region 16 – Harley Paynter (Boyd County)

2021 KABC Boys Basketball Region Coach of the Year

Region 1 – Greg Overstretch (Paducah Tilghman)

Region 2 – Ryan Perry (Lyon County)

Region 3 – Kyle Eades (Muhlenberg County)

Region 4 – Todd Messer (Clinton County)

Region 5 – Jared McCurry (John Hardin)

Region 6 – Blake Stone (Doss)

Region 7 – Aaron Hill (Christian Academy of Lou.)

Region 8 – Jason Burns (Spencer County)

Region 9 – Matthew Otte (Conner)

Region 10 – Brian Kirk (Mason County)

Region 11 – Brandon Salsman (Lexington Catholic)

Region 12 – Denny Webb (Boyle County)

Region 13 – Michael Jones (Harlan County)

Region 14 – Allan Holland (Hazard)

Region 15 – Tommy McKenzie (Johnson Central)

Region 16 – Shawn Thacker (Rowan County)

2021 KABC Girls Basketball Region Coach of the Year

Region 1 – Lyndon Dunning (Graves County)

Region 2 – Shannon Hodge (Crittenden County)

Region 3 – Chad Moorman (Breckinridge County)

Region 4 – Piper Lindsey (Barren County)

Region 5 – Amber Courtney (Bardstown)

Region 6 – Michael Prichard (Pleasure Ridge Park)

Region 7 – Maurice Ponder (Male)

Region 8 – Clay Birdwhistell (Anderson County)

Region 9 – Justin Holthaus (Cooper)

Region 10 – Steve Brown (Scott High)

Region 11 – Nick Runyon (Paul Laurence Dunbar)

Region 12 – Mark McKinley (Wayne County)

Region 13 – Eddie Mahan (North Laurel)

Region 14 – Travis Smith (Owsley County)

Region 15 – Justin Triplett (Floyd Central)

Region 16 – Mandy Layne (Russell) & Pete Fraley (Boyd County)

2021 KABC Region Player of the Year Runner Up

Region 1

Boys: Eli Brown (Paducah Tilghman)

Girls: Madison Calvin (Ballard Memorial)

Region 2

Boys: KJ Crump (University Heights)

Girls: Shannon Hodge (Crittenden County)

Region 3

Boys: Brady Dame (McLean County)

Girls: Kassidy Daugherty (Apollo)

Region 4

Boys: Mason Shirley (Allen Co.-Scottsville)

Girls: Jacqueline Jackson (Greenwood)

Region 5

Boys: Anthony Bowen (John Hardin)

Girls: Kayra Freeman (Elizabethtown)

Region 6

Boys: Tony Moss (Doss)

Girls: Dynastee White (Butler)

Region 7

Boys: Ethan Hodge (Trinity)

Girls: Sydney Raque (Christian Academy of Louisville)

Region 8

Boys: Sam Conley (Spencer County)

Girls: Sophie Smith (Anderson County)

Region 9

Boys: Scott Draud (Beechwood) & Wyatt Vieth (St. Henry)

Girls: Sydney Lockard (Dixie Heights)

Region 10

Boys: Rickey Lovette (Montgomery County)

Girls: Marie Kiefer (Bishop Brossart)

Region 11

Boys: DaShawn Jackson (Frederick Douglass)

Girls: Elise Ellison-Coons (Paul Laurence Dunbar)

Region 12

Boys: DeAjuan Stepp (West Jessamine)

Girls: Alexa Smiddy (Southwestern)

Region 13

Boys: Conner Robinson (Clay County)

Girls: Whitney Caldwell (Pineville)

Region 14

Boys: Wade Pelphrey (Hazard)

Girls: Keara Mullins (Knott Co. Central)

Region 15

Boys: Jordan Frazier (Betsy Layne)

Girls: Sammi Sites (Johnson Central)

Region 16

Boys: Kirk Pence (Raceland)

Girls: Kelsie Woodard (Menifee County)

Repeat Champions Crowned in All “A” Classic

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.

St. Henry wins the boys All “A” title with 74-57 win over Clinton County. (Photo from All “A” Classic Twitter account.)

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.

Clinton County with the runner-up trophy follow the team’s first appearance in the All “A” finals in program history. (Photo from All “A” Classic Twitter account.)

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.

Bethlehem hoisting the girls All “A” championship trophy for the second straight season. (Photo from the Bethlehem Athletics Twitter account.)

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.

All “A” Classic Finals Set

RICHMOND, Ky. – The semifinals of the All “A” Classic are in the books and only one game was decided by less than 10 points.

Clinton County edged Evangel Christian 44-42 as Keion Schrivener’s jumper with 0:04 remaining clanked off the iron before being rebounded by Clinton County’s Nick Brown in the first boys semifinal.

The nightcap saw St. Henry pull away from Lexington Christian in the fourth quarter to take a 72-49 win into the finals Saturday morning against Clinton County.

St. Henry is the boys All “A” Classic defending champion and will be seeking the school’s third All “A” crown. Clinton County is in the boys finals for the first time in school history.

St. Henry’s Wyatt Vieth led the Crusaders with 21 points.(Photo by Jeff McCurry from last season’s 9th Region tournament.)

Bethlehem joins St. Henry in a bid to go back-to-back as the Banshees won the All “A” girls crown last season with a 51-47 victory over Walton-Verona.

Bethlehem will once again faceoff with Walton-Verona in the finals after both teams cruised to semifinal victories.

Crusaders hold steady against Eagles

St. Henry shot out to a 23-5 lead over LCA at the end of the first quarter led by Jude Bessler’s seven points.

LCA (11-10) made just one field goal in the opening quarter before getting hot in the second and third quarters shooting a combined 13-for-25 to pull to within 50-41 at the end of the third.

Tanner Walton scored 12 points in the middle quarters for LCA before posting a total of 23 points on the night.

Wyatt Vieth led all St. Henry scorers with 21 points and 8 rebounds. Vieth was 6-for-11 from the field and 9-of-9 from the charity stripe for St. Henry (14-2).

Bessler chipped in 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Crusaders.

Evangel Christian eliminated by Clinton County

Dawson Black’s game-high 16 points was not enough as Clinton County eliminated the Eagles 44-42.

Clinton County (18-2) got out to a hot start thanks to the power of the mullet wearing Blake Melton.

Melton, who averaged just over 8 ppg going into the contest, knocked down a pair of three-point shots and another short jumper to tally eight of his 11 points on the night before exiting the game in the third quarter with an injury.

Evangel Christian (8-10) had the clear size advantage on the block with 6-foot-11 sophomore center Cyr Malonga towering over the Bulldogs, but Malonga was easily pushed around throughout the game by an aggressive Clinton County bunch.

Clinton County’s Nick Brown and Nick Delk added 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Banshees shoot down Rockets

Bethlehem (19-4) forced 23 Crittenden County turnovers and rode a stifling defense to an 80-54 victory despite Crittenden County’s Taylor Guess leading all scorers with 26 points.

Crittenden County (13-4) fell to behind 29-9 at the end of the first quarter and was never able to cut the deficit below 20 the rest of the game.

Ella Thompson looks to led the Bethlehem Banshees to back-to-back All “A” state titles. (Photo taken from Thompson’s Twitter account.)

Ella Thompson notched 18 points for the Banshees. Amelia Hodges and Xaviara Smalley added 15 points each for Bethlehem.

Lady Pirates sails never fly against Bearcats

Walton-Verona (15-6) limited Berea to an abysmal 17.9 shooting percentage for the game as the Bearcats easily defeated the Lady Pirates 56-18.

Maggie Buerger of Walton-Verona was the only player to score in double digits for either team as she tallied 10 points.

Finals Matchups Set

Bethlehem will meet Walton-Verona at 9 a.m. for the girls title game. St. Henry and Clinton County will begin their game at 11:30 a.m.

Both games can be viewed by going to

Something in the Water: Bulldogs ‘Tapped’ Out by Cardinals

Martin County has had its share of negative press over the last decade, namely their clean water woes that have not only been a major concern by legislators, but have became the brunt of jokes across the state — including opposing fan sections.

But in 2019 — the ship began to right. A brand new, state-of-the-art school opened its doors and the name Sheldon Clark High School was abandoned for a new beginning: Martin County High School, they would be, and remain the Cardinals (#CardsForLife)

Their programs seemed to flourish; Thanks to Coach Josh Muncy, football was competitive again. Under Coaches Harless and Hinkle, Volleyball had its winningest season in history. Boys Soccer had its first collegiate signee… and the list goes on.

The school’s girls basketball program suffered great loss in the death of both Head Basketball Coach Tim Rice and assistant Pam Maynard — but a familiar face came along to pick up those pieces bit by bit; Hall of Fame legend Robin (Harmon) Newsome took the helm and led her team to a District Title — for Pammy, she says, and in honor of her friend Coach Rice.

The Coup de Grâce this season was the utter dominance Martin County showed over the ever-tough 57th District. In the 15th Region tournament their goal was to handle it game by game and simply win the day. After a hard fought final victory, tonight they bring home the community’s first region basketball championship since 1983. 

Box Score:

Martin County 16 16 16 17 – 65
Lawrence County 11 12 14 24 – 61

Martin County:
Trey James 17 points 8 rebounds 3 blocks
Brady Dingess 14 points, Braxton Maynard 14 points, Jordan Dalton 10 points 7 rebounds

Brady Dingess: 15th Region Tournament MVP  

Lawrence County:
Cody Maynard 18 points, Trenton Adkins 16 points, Tyler Maynard 13 points

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Stiles-May

The Dream of Many Will Become Reality After Regionals for Only a Few

Growing up in Kentucky whether it be the small towns such as Paintsville, Pikeville, Hickman, and Fulton or in the bigger metropolitan areas such as Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Bowling Green, and Florence, the dream of many children is to one day play in the KHSAA Sweet 16.

Many of those kids are playing on makeshift hoops without a net only to possibly one day cut the net off of the rim after a regional championship and, maybe, even a state championship.

Photo courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Regardless of what region or gender is playing on any given night, teams know that it is lose and go home from here on out. The field for the Mingua Beef Jerky/KHSAA Girls’ Basketball Sweet 16 will be finalized on Sunday, March 8, and the entrants into the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Basketball Sweet 16 will be set on Tuesday, March 10.

Regional games are already underway as the 4th Region girls tournament started this afternoon at E.A. Diddle Arena on the campus of Western Kentucky University with Russell County defeating Glasgow 40-36 and Bowling Green trouncing Russellville 61-29.

Photo courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Last week, I posted an article where we went ahead and selected our thoughts on who the regional winners will be, but this article will now include my selections on who will be playing in the finals of each regional tournament as well as who will be punching their tickets to Rupp Arena.

Just like how it should be in real life when entering a building, ladies are first.

Please note that the times listed for the championship game for each regional is local to the site.

1st Region – March 7 at 6 p.m. – Calloway County over Marshall County at the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University.

2nd Region – March 7 at 6 p.m. – Madisonville-North Hopkins over Henderson County at Christian County High School.

3rd Region – March 8 at 3 p.m. – Owensboro Catholic over the winner of the Muhlenberg County/Apollo matchup at the Owensboro Sportscenter.

4th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Bowling Green over Barren County at WKU’s EA Diddle Arena.

5th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Bethlehem over Elizabethtown at Thomas Nelson High School.

6th Region – March 7 at 1:45 p.m. – Mercy Academy over Bullitt East at Valley High School.

7th Region – March 7 at 12 p.m. – Sacred Heart over Christian Academy of Louisville at Valley high School.

8th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Simon Kenton over Walton-Verona at Collins High School.

9th Region – March 8 at 2 p.m. – Ryle over Notre Dame Academy at NKU’s BB&T Arena.

10th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Bishop Brossart over Campbell County at Campbell County Middle School.

11th Region – March 6 at 7 p.m. – Scott County over Franklin County at EKU’s McBrayer Arena.

12th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Rockcastle County over Southwestern at Lincoln County High School.

13th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – South Laurel over North Laurel at the Corbin Arena.

14th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Wolfe County over the host Letcher County Central.

15th Region – March 7 at 5 p.m. – Shelby Valley over Pikeville at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville.

16th Region – March 7 at 7 p.m. – Russell over Boyd County at Morehead State University’s Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

Now that the girls regional championship games have been picked, I will turn my focus over to the boys tournaments. While there are plenty of people that have been to far more games that I have been, there has been one team that has stood out, to me, as being my favorite to win it all and that is none other than the Colonels of Covington Catholic High School so the below picture will be the smallest of trophies that I think that they will win this postseason.

Photo courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Below will be my region-by-region championship game picks as well as those who will earn the right to represent their school, town, and region at Rupp Arena:

1st Region – March 8 at 3 p.m. – McCracken County over Marshall County at Murray State University’s CFSB Center.

2nd Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Madisonville-North Hopkins over Lyon County at Hopkinsville High School.

3rd Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Owensboro over Owensboro Catholic at the Owensboro Sportscenter.

4th Region – March 10 at 6 p.m. – Bowling Green over Warren Central at WKU’s EA Diddle Arena.

5th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Elizabethtown over John Hardin at Taylor County High School.

6th Region – March 9 at 7 p.m. – Fern Creek over Butler at Valley High School.

7th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Ballard over Male at Valley High School.

8th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Oldham County over Collins at Henry County High School.

9th Region – March 10 at 7:30 p.m. – Covington Catholic over Highlands at NKU’s BB&T Arena.

10th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – George Rogers Clark over Campbell County at home.

11th Region – March 7 at 5 p.m. – Lexington Catholic over Scott County at EKU’s McBrayer Arena.

12th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Somerset over the host Pulaski County.

13th Region – March 9 at 7 p.m. – South Laurel over Clay County at the Corbin Arena.

14th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Hazard over Wolfe County at Knott County Central High School.

15th Region – March 9 at 7 p.m. – Martin County over Shelby Valley at the Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville.

16th Region – March 10 at 7 p.m. – Ashland Blazer over Boyd County at Morehead State University’s Ellis T. Johnson Arena.

May the best team win their respective regional tournament. To all of the players, play with the passion for the game that you have inside of you. Play for yourself, your team, your coaches, your school, your family, and your community. Leave it all out on the court so that you know you gave it your all.

Region Championship Too Early Predictions

Photo courtesy Bob & Ted Jackson.

It is that time of year again folks and many people are wondering if their team(s) are going to make it out of their respective district tournament, but I am here to go ahead and make what some will say obvious predictions and a few thrown in their to possibly ruffle some feathers in hopes that some good conversations can be had.

The first prediction that I will make is the one that some people will say is the most obvious choice in Kentucky this season and that is Maddie Scherr will win the Miss Basketball title.

Photo courtesy Bob & Ted Jackson.

The first of my few surprise predictions will be that Zion Harmon will lead the Marshall County HS Marshals to Rupp Arena. Many people are placing their money (figuratively speaking) on McCracken County to win the 1st Region crown, but I think it will be Marshall County cutting down the next at Murray State University’s CFSB Center.

My other bold prediction will be what some may call a homer pick because I will officially be a graduate of Northern Kentucky University in May, but Coach Darrin Horn has done a good job in recruiting in his time at the helm of the Norse and to land Marques Warrick is only a sign of things to come for the Norse. With that having been said, I think Warrick will be crowned Mr. Basketball.

Photo taken from Marques Warrick’s Twitter account @marques_warrick

Below is a list of the teams that I think will be playing in the basketball Mecca of Rupp Arena in a few short week.

First will be the region champions competing for the Mingua Beef Jerky/KHSAA Girls Basketball Sweet 16:

Photo taken from the KHSAA website.

1st Region – Calloway County

2nd Region – Henderson County

3rd Region – Owensboro Catholic

4th Region – Bowling Green

5th Region – Bethlehem (if the Banshees can pull off the All A Class and Sweet 16 sweep, a book and movie would need to be made about the small school team from Bardstown)

6th Region – Butler

7th Region – Sacred Heart

8th Region – Simon Kenton

9th Region – Ryle

10th Region – Bishop Brossart

11th Region – Scott County

12th Region – Casey County

13th Region – South Laurel

14th Region – Wolfe County (this is the one that has the greatest chance of not happening out of the 16 predictions, but it is wishful thinking for a school that you never hear much out of. The city of Campton would shut down if their girls were playing in Rupp Arena)

15th Region – Shelby Valley

16th Region – Boyd County

Photo taken from the KHSAA website.

And now for the predictions of the 16 teams that I think will be representing their school, town and county in what many call “The Greatest Show in Hoops,” aka the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16:

1st Region – Marshall County

2nd Region – Madisonville – North Hopkins

3rd Region – Owensboro

4th Region – Bowling Green

5th Region – Elizabethtown

6th Region – Fern Creek

7th Region – Male

8th Region – Oldham County

9th Region – Covington Catholic (a trip to Rupp Arena wouldn’t be the same without two things…the first being a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone and the second being the chance to see some terrific basketball from the CovCath, but mainly to get to see the Colonel Crazies a.k.a. the greatest cheering section in all of Kentucky high school athletics)

10th Region – Bourbon County

11th Region – Henry Clay

12th Region – Somerset

13th Region – South Laurel

14th Region – Hazard

15th Region – Martin County

16th Region – Ashland Blazer

Division I-filled Oak Hill Academy (VA) downs CovCath 50-38

Oak Hill Academy receives trophy after defeating CovCath 50-38.

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Oak Hill Academy out of Mouth of Wilson, Va., rode strong performances from Cam Thomas and Darius Maddox to defeat Covington Catholic High School 50-38 in Game 1 of the 2019 Griffin Elite Prep School Classic on Saturday afternoon at the BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University.

Thomas, who has already signed to play for the LSU Tigers next season, scored the majority of his 17 points at the charity stripe where he was 10-for-10 on the day. Thomas was just 3-for-12 from the field including 1-for-4 from behind the three-point arc, but he did make up for it defensively with six steals.

Cam Thomas drives by a CovCath defender.

Maddox, a Virginia Tech Hokies signee, had the best performance for Coach Steve Smith’s team that is ranked 24th in the country according to the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 Writers’ Poll. Maddox went 6-for-11 from the field including 2-for-4 from behind the three-point arc.

Virginia Tech signee Darius Maddox during opening intros.

Covington Catholic (0-2), who is a favorite to win the 9th Region basketball tournament also to be held at the BB& T Arena, was paced by Grant Disken’s 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-for-5 from three-point land. Disken added three assists, two rebounds and a steal for Scott Ruthsatz’s Colonels.

Grant Deskin attempts a first-half shot over Cam Thomas.

On a day where many were focused on Covington Catholic’s Class 5A state football game against Frederick Douglass, the basketball team came out fighting hard against the perennial national power.

Covington Catholic’s Chandler Starks proved to be a force to be reckoned with on the boards for years to come as the freshman grabbed a game-high 13 boards (four offensive and nine defensive). Starks showed a poise and fighter’s attitude against the Warriors that will prove to be beneficial as he may not see that level of collective talent again the rest of the season.

Freshman Chandler Starks (42) had impressive rebounding performance leading the game with 13.

The Colonels led by as many as five with 3:20 to go in the first quarter and could never pull away from the Warriors, but the team played with a spirit that didn’t die as their school motto says.

It wasn’t until late in the fourth quarter before the Warriors were able to pull away after the Colonels pulled to within 34-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Two things that Covington Catholic will need to clean up as the season marches on are the turnovers and free-throw shooting. The Colonels committed 19 turnovers and shot just 4-for-8 from the charity stripe.

KK Robinson, who has committed to the University of Arkansas, tallied a game-high seven steals for the Warriors to go along with his nine points.

Neil Green added eight points and four rebounds for the Colonels who will next face a St. Henry District High School squad that is off to a hot start with a pair of wins over 9th Region foes Cooper (51-33) and Conner (52-47). Tipoff for the Tues., Dec. 10 contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

Please note all game photos are courtesy of Bob & Ted Jackson.

Sweet 16 Round 1 Recap


Round 1 of the KHSAA/Whitaker Bank Sweet 16 is complete and we have had a great first two days of the tournament.

Wednesday, March 6th 

Game 1 was the first game of the Sweet 16, tipping off Wednesday at 12pm. It featured Walton-Verona, who hadn’t made an appearance in the Sweet 16 since the 1940s. Walton-Verona brought quite the crowd… and energy. The Bearcats capitalized on Knox Central’s game plan of shutting down Xavier commit Dionte Miles — and had everyone else scoring. The threes were falling rapidly for Walton-Verona in the 3rd Quarter, sealing the blowout over Knox with a final score of 76-54.

Game 2 was your largest loss in the tournament thus far — with 7th Region Goliath Trinity facing the mountain boys of the 15th Region — Johnson Central. Trinity came out strong, holding Johnson Central to only 2 points in the first quarter. While Coach Tommy McKenzie seemed to steady the Golden Eagles’ ship in the second quarter, Louisville commit David Johnson was just too much for Johnson Central to handle, with a final score of 70-28.

Game 3 matched undefeated John Hardin High School with Campbell County. A lot of folks were pulling for JHHS to continue their streak but Campbell County’s Reid Jolly lead the Camels to victory with his 3 point performance. Final score: Campbell County 61, John Hardin 60

Game 4 brought two teams together with the richest Sweet 16 heritage — both Owensboro and Ashland have had more success in the tournament than any school, with Ashland having 6 titles under its belt. Both teams had struggled to get to Rupp in recent years but made for one of the most well-matched games of the day. Ashland bested Owensboro in the end, winning its first Sweet 16 game since 2001. Final score Ashland 58, Owensboro 50.

Thursday, March 7th

Game 5 pitted another Mountain team against a Louisville squad as Perry County Central tried to advance to the Elite Eight against Butler. The game was tight with several lead changes and an Overtime but two last second threes by Butler’s Maurice Tolley sealed the win for the Bears outside of regulation, defeating the Commodores 65-62.

Game 6 brought us a rematch of last year’s Sweet 16 finals, Scott County vs. Covington Catholic. The game seemed to be all Scott County’s, with a lead as large as 19 late in the 4th Quarter. CovCath mounted the largest comeback I have personally witnessed by going on an 18-0 run in the final two minutes. Scott County squeaked by with a late layup to live another day, final score 64-61.

Game 7 Madisonville North-Hopkins topped Lincoln County in their first Sweet 16 victory since 1989 under the stellar performance of Junior Kenny White, who had 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 blocks. Madisonville fans brought the best energy to Rupp I saw all day, helping their squad win 57-49.

Game 8 brought Mayfield up against Warren Central in Mayfield’s first Sweet 16 berth since 1992. Coach Chris Guhy was hoping to extend his final season as a head coach, however, Warren Central had three players in double digit scoring, with Tre Boyd charting a double-double. Final score: 73-55.

Updated Bracket courtesy of the KHSAA Scoreboard:

Follow @BluegrassBball on Twitter for Live Sweet 16 updates.

#S16: Wednesday March 6, 2019

Redd Hutchinson has written up a short and Sweet preview of Wednesday’s games. We will post updated brackets for you as the week progresses. Follow @BluegrassBball on Twitter for live game recaps!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 Afternoon Session 


Knox Central (30-4) 13th Region Champions

Beat North Laurel in regional championship game 80 – 53.


Walton Verona (27 – 6) 8th Region Champions

Beat Oldham County in regional championship game 60 – 51. _______________________________


Trinity (Louisville) (26 – 8) 7th Region Champions

Beat Louisville Ballard in regional championship game 59 – 37.


Johnson Central (27 – 7) 15th Region Champions

Beat Pikeville in regional championship game 66 – 61.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 Evening Session


John Hardin (35 – 0) 5th Region Champions

Beat Taylor County in regional championship 62 – 51.


Campbell County (29 – 4) 10th Region Champions

Beat George Rogers Clark in regional championship 61 – 49.


Owensboro (23 – 7) 3rd Region Champions

Beat Breckinridge County in regional championship game 63 – 57.


Ashland Blazer (17 – 16) 16th Region Champions

Beat Boyd County in regional championship game 59 – 43.