Five storylines for Northern Kentucky high school basketball teams in the All 'A' Classic

·5 min read
Highlands senior Oliver Harris tries to disrupt the dribble of Walton-Verona senior Brant Smithers as Walton-Verona defeated Highlands 97-94 Nov. 30, 2021. It was Highlands' season opener after winning the Sweet 16 state championship in April.
Highlands senior Oliver Harris tries to disrupt the dribble of Walton-Verona senior Brant Smithers as Walton-Verona defeated Highlands 97-94 Nov. 30, 2021. It was Highlands' season opener after winning the Sweet 16 state championship in April.

The All "A" Classic state basketball state tournaments begin this week. Action will take place Wednesday through Sunday at Eastern Kentucky University's McBrayer Arena in Richmond.

Three Northern Kentucky teams will take aim at a state title this week. Here is a look at the tournament.

Schedule and ticket info

Boys schedule

Thursday – Danville Christian (15-5) vs. Murray (16-2), 8:30 a.m.; Pikeville (15-1) vs. Owensboro Catholic (11-9), 10 a.m.; West Carter (8-7) vs. Todd County Central (15-4), 11:30 a.m.; Kentucky Country Day (10-8) vs. Evangel Christian (8-7); 1 p.m.; Walton-Verona (11-8) vs. Bracken County (14-5), 5 p.m.; Campbellsville (12-7) vs. Harlan (13-6), 6:30 p.m.; Breathitt County (14-4) vs. Lyon County (13-4), 8 p.m.; Holy Cross (15-6) vs. Sayre (9-10), 9:30 p.m

Friday – Quarterfinals at 5, 6:30, 8 and 9:30 p.m.

Saturday – Semifinals at 3 and 4:30 p.m.

Sunday – Final at 2 p.m.

Girls schedule

Wednesday – Carlisle County (13-4) vs. Owen County (14-6), 8:30 a.m.; Cumberland County (12-7) vs. Jackson County (14-4), 10 a.m.; Holy Cross (13-8) vs. Paris (12-5), 11:30 a.m.; Lyon County (11-9) vs. Campbellsville (11-9), 1 p.m.; Owensboro Catholic (15-6) vs. Berea (16-2), 5 p.m.; Louisville Holy Cross (10-8) vs. Whitefield Academy (16-5), 6:30 p.m.; West Carter (15-4) vs. Knott County Central (13-6), 8 p.m.; Danville Christian (15-3) vs. Pikeville (17-1), 9:30 p.m.

Friday – Quarterfinals at 8:30, 10 and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Saturday – Semifinals at noon and 1:30 p.m.

Sunday – Final at noon

After limited ticket sales last season due to the pandemic, attendance will be back to normal rules this season.

Tickets are $10 for each session and can be bought in advance through the EKU ticket office or on-site at McBrayer Arena.

All spectators are required to wear masks inside McBrayer Arena.

Pay-per-view video streaming of each game is available at PrepSpin. Free audio broadcasts will be available at the tournament website beginning Wednesday.

Past state champions

Here are all of the past All “A” Classic champions from Northern Kentucky.

Newport Central Catholic boys – 4 (2000, 2013, 2014, 2015)

St. Henry boys – 3 (2003, 2020, 2021)

Bishop Brossart girls – 1 (1999)

Bishop Brossart boys – 1 (2007)

Newport Central Catholic girls – 1 (2010)

Holy Cross boys – 1 (2012)

Walton-Verona girls - 1 (2012)

Holy Cross girls – 1 (2015)

Bearcats make another run

Walton-Verona is in the boys state tournament for the fifth time in the last six seasons and seventh time overall. The Bearcats lost in the finals in 2018 and are looking for their first title.

Walton-Verona has one of the tourney’s top scores in Brant Smithers, who averages 21.5 points with 55 3-pointers. Cam Christy averages 17.7, and Carter Krohman averages 12.2 with 59 3-pointers.

The Bearcats will face a first-round showdown with one of the state’s top scorers, Blake Reed, who averages 27.4 points with 63 3-pointers. Cayden Reed averages 18 points per game.

Walton-Verona ranks sixth in the field in the Cantrall computer ratings, and Bracken is right behind in seventh.

A win gets the Bearcats a potentially easier game on paper against Campbellsville, 12th in the field in the ratings, and 14th-ranked Harlan.

Meyer hopes to get on the floor at EKU

When Holy Cross head coach Casey Sorrell and superstar junior Jacob Meyer were interviewed before the All “A” Ninth Region tournament, they emphasized how important the All “A” was. Not only for the opportunity to bring home a major championship trophy but a chance to give Meyer and the team statewide exposure on a Division I college floor.

Meyer is a junior guard averaging 40 points per game but missed a win against Holmes Monday night with an injury. It’s uncertain if he will play in the All “A”.

Holy Cross guard Jacob Meyer drives to the basket against  Nathan Vinson of Highlands during their game, Monday, Jan. 3, 2021.
Holy Cross guard Jacob Meyer drives to the basket against Nathan Vinson of Highlands during their game, Monday, Jan. 3, 2021.

Without Meyer, HC beat Holmes easily. Javier Ward scored 40 points and averages 18 for the season. Zach and Dylan Arlinghaus, who average over five points per game, both scored in double figures.

Holy Cross is in the tourney for the sixth time in team history and won the state title in 2012.

Holy Cross is fourth in the field in the Cantrall computer ratings, behind Owensboro Catholic, Pikeville and Lyon County.

Sayre is 10th in the field in the Cantralls and most of its losses have been to larger schools.

A win could pit Meyer against Lyon County and Travis Perry, who averages over 28 points per game.

A semifinal matchup could pit HC against the WV-Bracken winner. Owensboro Catholic and Pikeville play each other in the first round and are on the other half of the bracket.

MORE: Northern Kentucky basketball statistical leaders

Holy Cross girls reclaiming glory?

Holy Cross is in the state tournament for the 12th time in team history and fourth out of the last six years. The Indians have one All “A” state championship, in 2015, a season in which they would eventually win the overall Sweet 16 state title, the first in Northern Kentucky history.

Holy Cross is rated sixth in the Ninth Region in the Cantrall computer ratings with a 76.1. Paris is ranked fourth in the 10th Region with 56.8.

Holy Cross junior Julia Hunt looks for an opening against Ludlow senior Jenna Lillard as Holy Cross defeated Ludlow 52-37 in the championship game of the girls basketball Ninth Region All "A" Classic Jan. 8, 2022 at Ludlow High School.
Holy Cross junior Julia Hunt looks for an opening against Ludlow senior Jenna Lillard as Holy Cross defeated Ludlow 52-37 in the championship game of the girls basketball Ninth Region All "A" Classic Jan. 8, 2022 at Ludlow High School.

Leading the way this year is forward Julia Hunt, one of the top emerging players in Northern Kentucky. She averages a double-double with 16.3 points and 10.8 rebounds and shoots 55 percent from the floor.

Senior Hanna Robinson averages 11 points per game and is one of the region’s top 3-point shooters with 48 made. Talented guards Aleah Arlinghaus and Miyah Wimzie run the offense and average over six points per game.

Potential second-round foe Lyon County leads the Second Region at 71.8, and Campbellsville out of the Fifth Region is at 51.8.

Owen County, the Eighth Region champion, is the likely opponent should the Indians reach the semifinals, and Owen is a hair ahead of HC at 76.2. Owen has the second-highest rating in the field with HC third.

Pikeville, the top team in the 15th Region at 80.5 overall, leads the computer ratings.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: A look at Northern Kentucky basketball teams in the All 'A' Classic

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