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NKYSports.com Top 10 (Dec 9)
12/9/2012 - by Ryan Roberts
9th Region Boys Top 10 – Dec 9

1. Newcath (3-0)
Why: The Breds are off to a 3-0 start after a 44-42 win over Cooper in week 2. Michael Beuter has been the leader, averaging 16 ppg through the first three games, but they’ve also received big scoring outputs from senior Nick Seibert, junior Jake Schulte, and sophomore Drew McDonald. The Breds had a week off after the Cooper game but will be back in action Wednesday night at home against Boone County.

2. Holmes (6-0)
Why: The Bulldogs have yet to be beaten and are absolutely suffocating teams with their defense and pressure. In week 2 they beat Oak Hills 58-42, Pendleton Co 78-50, Walton Verona 81-32, and Lincoln County 50-38. The one thing that has been constant with this team has been their defense (giving up just 46 ppg) and balance offensively (69 ppg). Through 6 games, Chris Englemon, Quan Palmer, and James Bolden are all three averaging double figures in scoring, while Englemon is averaging a double-double. Holmes will travel to St. Henry Tuesday night before heading to the Eastern Kentucky Expo Center for games on Friday and Saturday night against New Rochelle, NY and Breathitt County in the Kentucky Farm Bureau Classic.

3. Cooper (2-1)
Why: After a set back against #1 Newcath, the Jags responded with an impressive win over #7 Holy Cross in which they got 19 points from senior AJ Collins and 13 from senior Lou Maniacci. The Jags used a 22-6 run that spanned from the end of the second quarter to the start of the third quarter to pull away from the Indians. This is a very deep team that will be tough to score on throughout the season. They very easily could be my #1 team, but with the loss to Newcath (being short-handed) and Holmes still being undefeated, the Jags will check in at #3 this week. The Jags host 33rd district rival Conner Monday night before travelling to Campbell County the very next night in a 9th-10 region battle.

4. Covington Catholic (5-0)
Why: The Colonels have been very good early on. This past week they beat St. Henry 71-52 and Pendleton Co 62-55. The signature win of the early season came Saturday night, however, as they beat the Cincinnati Division I #3 team in Archbishop Moeller 59-53. Moeller is consistently one of the best teams in Cincinnati and usually feature a DI prospect or two. The key to the Colonels early season success? Nick Ruthsatz. The kid has been outstanding, averaging 20 ppg. If Ruthsatz and the Colonels continue to play well, expect them to move up in the rankings. Colonels will host Conner Tuesday night, travel to St. Xavier Thursday night, and back at home Friday against Campbell County.

5. Dixie Heights (3-1)
Why: The Colonels have lost just once in the early part of the season and that was a 2 point home loss to #1 Newcath. The Colonels only played once this week but picked up a 65-58 win over Campbell Co on the road Saturday night. Dixie was led by Brandon Hatton’s 29 points and 12 rebounds in a game they were down by 10 at the half. Adam Daria was clutch for the Colonels in their big third quarter comeback as he put in 10 for the game, followed by 8 for Alex Milligan, all in the 4th quarter. Through 4 games Hatton is averaging 29 ppg. The Colonels will host #10 Highlands Tuesday night and Franklin County Friday night.

6. Ryle (3-1)
Why: This past week, the Raiders went 1-1, but one of those losses were to out of state Colerain on the road by a score of 57-53. Anyone who has seen Colerain over the years knows that they are always an athletic team that plays tough defense. The in-state game the Raiders played was a 64-62 win over 33rd district and county rival, Boone County. In that game, Mark Fussenger led the Raiders with 22, followed by 19 from Drew Mays. Mays is averaging 20 ppg through 4 games. The Raiders will be back in action Monday night on the road at Grant County before hosting #8 Conner in a big 33rd district match seeding game Thursday night.

7. Newport (1-2)
Why: The 1-2 record is very misleading. The Wildats opened the season with a 7 point home loss to #2 Holmes and this past week lost by just 8 (60-52) to Dixie Heights on Saturday night. The Wildcats got a signature win Tuesday night, however, as they knocked off #8 Holy Cross 73-68 behind 28 points from junior Jaquon Short and 22 from senior Cody Pearson. Newport will travel to Lloyd Tuesday night in a big NKAC Division II game then out to Campbell County Thursday night, where they will be up against their former coach Aric Russell. The Wildcats close out the week Friday night at home against 10th region St Patrick.

8. Holy Cross (1-2)
The Indians had a busy week, after starting their season a little later than most of the other teams. The season kicked off with a road game against #9 Newport Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Holy Cross faithful, they suffered a 73-68 loss and followed that up with a 59-48 loss to #3 Cooper on Friday night, despite getting 19 points from senior Tony Campbell and 10 from senior Burt Pouncy. The very next night, however, the Indians would rebound with a 56-41 home win over Lloyd. Holy Cross will again have another busy week with 3 games. Monday night, they will host Scott in a Kenton County 9th/10th region battle. They will then be on the road Thursday night at Harrison County and Friday night at perennial state power, Scott County. Holy Cross could be better than #8 as the season progresses, but I think right now, this is a fair slot for them.

9. Conner (2-1)
Why: The Cougars started the week off with a 76-74 come from behind win over a short handed Simon Kenton team. In that game Conner got 23 points from Sam Hemmerich and 22 from Brady Padgett. Conner suffered a set back Friday night, though, as they lost 64-55 to winless Boone County in a 33rd district seeding game. Things won’t get easier for Conner this week. They will travel to #3 Cooper Monday night in another 33rd district seeding game, then travel to #4 Covcath Tuesday night, and close out the week with a Thursday night 33rd district seeding road game at Ryle. Conner can either solidify their spot in the top 10 or fall out of the top 10 by the end of the week. Time will tell.

10. Highlands (2-0)
Why: The Birds opened their season with a 60-59 overtime win over winless St. Henry behind 19 points from senior Bailey Witte and 13 from junior Drew Houliston. The very next night they handled Bellevue 78-38 in a 36th district match up. Highlands is a team that could move up a spot or two in the rankings throughout the year depending on how some of the football guys transition from the gridiron to the hardwood. This week, the Birds will be on the road. Tuesday night they travel to #5 Dixie Heights. Thursday night they are at Brossart and at Bracken County Friday night.

Check back each week for 9th region rankings by Ryan Roberts. You can also follow me on twitter for coverage throughout the week. @Ryan_Ky0203
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