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9th Region Boys All A Championship
1/30/2006 - by Marcus Johnson
In a repeat matchup of the girls championship game a week earlier the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds and the Holy Cross Indians met for the boys championship on January 28th. The Lady Indians captured the girls regional title in Bellevue and the guys looked to make it a clean sweep in the All “A” regional at Newport High School.

The ‘Breds started the game off the way you would expect the two time defending regional champ to start with a 16-2 run in which all five starters scored. By the end of the 1st quarter the ‘Breds were in control 16-6. The second quarter was a one-on-one show to remember. Zack Kiernan’s (NCC) inside presence was answered by Nick Steenken’s (HC) inside/outside play. The Indians were unable to cut into the first quarter deficit as they found themselves trailing at the half 27-16. Holy Cross sharpshooter Jim Ryan was held scoreless in the first half taking only two shots.

Holy Cross responded well to start the second half scoring the first six points of the quarter on a traditional three-point play by Steenken and a three-pointer by Ryan to cut the deficit to five, 27-22. The Indians did win the quarter 12-9 and trailed by eight heading into the fourth quarter. All 12 points for the Indians were scored by Steenken and Ryan.

The fourth quarter was the most exciting eight minutes of the game as Holy Cross fought their way back with full court pressure and timely shooting. With the Indians trailing by six 48-42 with just under a minute left, sophomore guard Corey Sorrell knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to make it a three point game. The stage was now set for Kiernan as the 6’6” junior center calmly stepped to the line and made 3 of 4 free throws in the final 40 seconds to seal the victory for the ‘Breds. Kiernan was 1-3 at the line going into the fourth quarter, but when they mattered most the ‘Breds post player stepped up. Kiernan finished the game with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while George Stoll chipped in with 10 first half points for the ‘Breds. Steenken led Holy Cross with 16 points while Ryan added 10, all in the second half.

The Thoroughbreds will play Thursday at 1:30 against Region 16 champion Fairview who carries a 16-3 record into the state tournament. NewCath improved its record to 8-9 with the win while the Indians dropped to 11-6. This marked the third consecutive year that Newport Central Catholic has won the All “A” ninth regional crown and its fifth title in seven years. The Thoroughbreds won the All “A” state title in 2000.

All Tournament Team
Zack Kiernan - NCC (MVP)
Luke Heil - NCC
Scott Gesenhues - NCC
Nick Steenken - Holy Cross
Jim Ryan - Holy Cross
Jeremy Wight - Bellevue
Michael Romes - Beechwood
Cordale Savage - Lloyd
Dan Penick - Ludlow
James Glenn - Newport
Rick Saint-Blanchard - Heritage
Jason Schwartz - Dayton
Brandon Lenhof - St. Henry
Michael Schuh - Villa Madonna
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