|Allen Ramsey Photo. Newport Central Catholic guard Tanner Moeves (23) goes up against Covington Catholic's Grant Romes (23) in Sunday's 9th Region Semifinal contest. Moeves scored 15 points in the loss.|
By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS – Only a few teams in the 9th Region had the depth and tenacity to match them.
Unfortunately for the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds, they met one of them in the semifinals Sunday in the Covington Catholic Colonels. The Colonels made their free throws and limited the Thoroughbreds in the paint on their way to a 51-43 victory.
The Colonels (28-2) moved on to the title game. It takes place Monday at 7 p.m.
Covington Catholic made 14-of-15 free throws for 93 percent compared to 5-of-16 for NewCath for 31 percent.
Nick Ruthsatz led the Colonels with 20 points making all nine free throws and Bo Schuh had 12. Schuh made 3-of-4 free throws and led CovCath with eight rebounds.
“(Nick Ruthsatz) is a heck of a player,” said Ron Dawn, NewCath Head Coach. “He made two tough shots. On the one three, we didn’t get out on him as well as we had to then he knocks his free throws down, which we knew he could do that.”
The Colonels played 10 players and NewCath played eight. The Thoroughbred went six deep most of the year with Mac Franzen adding a seventh late in the season.
“That was definitely our game plan going in,” said Scott Ruthsatz, CovCath Head Coach. “We wanted to get up and down the big floor. Typically, I don’t sub much in the first quarter. We subbed in a lot (Sunday).”
The Thoroughbreds normally had at least two players in double-figures. They had just one in Tanner Moeves with 15 with Zack Pangallo following with eight. The three 6-foot-5-inch Throughbreds and above in Drew McDonald, Jake Schulte and Ben Weyer combined to score just 16 points. Weyer grabbed nine rebounds.
NewCath generally scores a lot of second-chance points. The Thoroughbreds had just three to five for the Colonels.
“We had a lot of opportunities inside,” said Ron Dawn, NewCath Head Coach. “There were a couple close calls that could have gone either way that didn’t go our way. We just missed too many easy shots inside.”
Coach Ruthsatz said CovCath wanted to make someone other than Pangallo start the offense. The Thoroughbreds had just three assists after recording 20 against St. Henry in the quarterfinals. The Colonels had nine assists with Nick Ruthsatz and Mark Schult making two each.
The game stayed tight with neither team leading by more than six points until the very end. CovCath led 14-9 in the first quarter before NewCath finished it with a 7-0 run to go up 16-14. Franzen made a triple with two seconds left to give the Thoroughbreds that lead.
The Colonels led 24-22 at halftime. Mark Schult hit a three-pointer with 1:15 left in the quarter to give CovCath that lead.
NewCath did lead for part of the third quarter. Schulte and Pangallo buckets gave the Thoroughbreds a 29-26 advantage with 6:35 left in the quarter.
CovCath came back and took a 34-30 lead when Ben Heppler made a three with 4:32 left. But Tanner Moeves made another three with 3:56 left and the Colonels led just 34-33 entering the fourth quarter.
Both teams struggled for seven minutes before Nick Ruthsatz made a shot with 4:31 left. Schulte scored at the other end to make it 36-35 with 4:12 left.
The Colonels then came through with a mini-run to pull away. Nick Ruthsatz made a three and Schuh made a fast-break lay-up to give CovCath a 41-35 advantage with 3:27 left in the game.
The Thoroughbreds did come back. Tanner Moeves made two three-pointers with the last one trimming the deficit to 45-43 with 49.8 seconds left. But the Colonels made all six free throws down the stretch to pull away.
NewCath graduates five seniors including two starters. They are Schulte, Franzen, Tanner Moeves, Josh Verkamp and Tyler Rawe.