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Team Preview: Newport Central Catholic
11/19/2012 - by Ryan Roberts
Breds Look To Live Up To Hype

Over the past two seasons, Coach Grant Brannen and his Newcath Thoroughbreds have won 48 games, won back-to-back District Championships, made an All “A” State Final 4 appearance, and appeared in back-to-back 9th Region Championship games. The one thing missing, however, is an appearance at Rupp Arena and a 9th Region Championship banner.

"It’s the worst feeling in the world, losing two years in a row (in the 9th Region Championship)," said 6’1 Senior Michael Beuter.

Coming in to this year, the Breds will be ranked preseason #1 and look to not only get back to the 9th Region Championship, but also win it and go down state to Rupp Arena. With the #1 ranking comes high expectations and pressure for Coach Brannen and his team.

"These kids know they’re #1 and understand it. There is a little bit of pressure at #1 but we have to go with it. These kids know they have to come ready to play and they’re going to get every teams’ best shot every night."

The Breds have good reason to believe they are the best team in the region. They return one of the best front courts in not only Northern Kentucky, but also the state in 6’8 Jake Schulte, 6’7 Drew McDonald, and 6’6 Nick Seibert.

"Anytime you have a 6’7 to 6’8 kid with some skill, it definetly gives you an advantage, especially here in Northern Kentucky,” said Brannen. "Obviously our front court is our biggest strength."

McDonald thinks that having both him and Schulte will make things a lot easier for one another, especially considering the new offense will revolve around them.

"Individually I’ve worked on my jump shot a little more," said McDonald. "It’s not about who scores the most, though. We just want to win the 9th Region Championship."

"Coming together as a team, we’re all going to work as a team," said Schulte. "Everyone has their own role."

With other teams trying to pack it in defensively, Coach Brannen knows it will be tough to throw it inside every time.

"We’d love to throw it inside every time and score, but that’s easier said than done. If teams are going to put 5 guys in the lane it’s not that easy. We have to knock down some shots. We’ve got a lot of guys that can score and in different ways. We could go 8 straight games and have a different scorer every game."

Taking some of the pressure off the two big guys will be the versatile 6’6 Senior, Nick Seibert, who has been working on his all around game, despite dealing with back issues recently.

"I’ve gotten taller,which helps,” said Seibert. "I’m trying to go in the post a little more because I know with those two big guys (McDonald and Schulte), I’ll have a smaller guy on me. I’ve been working on my strength and post moves."

Leading the back court both on and off the court will be Seniors Michael Beuter and Colin Dupont. Both Seniors were praised by their coach for the work they’ve put in over the summer and the leadership they’ve shown.

"These kids are intense, but especially our Seniors," said Brannen. "Michael Beuter has been on the regional final team the past two years and he’s hungry as ever. Last year he was 150 lbs and just getting beat around. Mike and all these guys got stronger. He’s going to have to score more."

Colin Dupont should be expected to make an impact from outside. If he shoots with the consistency from outside that he shows during practice, teams will have to come out and defend him.

"We’re expecting Colin to step up and take some pressure off Mike," said Brannen.

With Beuter being able to play off the ball more, he feels he can have a big season.

"I’ve improved my strength and agility as well as getting my jump shot more consistent, which will allow me to get the big guys open more. Playing off guard will definetly free me up more, not having a guy hassle me all the way up the court. It will keep me more loose and go with the flow of the game."

Sophomore Zach Pangallo will be counted on to help make things easier for not only Beuter and Dupont, but also the front court.

"He’s going to have to step up. We’re going to have to see how our back court goes with Zach," said Brannen. "It’s not a weakness but how he adapts to varsity is a new thing. Our number one goal in the off season was to get stronger. Teams are going to try to push us around so we have to stay strong all season."

With the always tough 9th Region, Coach Brannen and his players know they will have to come ready to play every night and stay focused.

"We can’t take anyone lightly and have to get better every day in practice," said Seibert. "If we play to our capabilities, though, we feel like we can beat anybody."

"I think there’s six teams in this region that could win it," said Brannen. "If we lose in the first round of the region to Covcath last year, we could’ve easily come in ranked anywhere 1 through 6 this year. The 9th Region is brutal."

Coach Brannen has put together another tough schedule this year to help prepare his team for what he hopes is a deep post season run. They will play Dixie in their second game of the year, followed by a match up with preseason #2, Cooper. The schedule is highlighted with a home game against defending state champion, Trinity.

"We plan on getting the 9th Region Championship, All "A" State and Region Championships, and competing for a State Championship," said Michael Beuter."

In order to meet those goals and make them happen, Coach Brannen had the following message for his team.

"Our ultimate goal is to get to Rupp arena. Up here at NewCath, they remember teams more than individuals. If we play together as a team, things will take care of themselves."
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