How have Northern Kentucky teams fared at the All "A" state basketball tournament?
The annual All "A" state basketball tournament got underway this week on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky. Both the boys and girls teams from Bishop Brossart and Holy Cross qualified out of their respective regions to represent Northern Kentucky.
There is history associated with all four teams. The Indians each qualified for the second straight year, and are looking to win the title for the first time in several years. Each of Bishop Brossart's teams has won a trophy and has long been dominant among small schools in the 10th Region.
With the Saturday semifinals now complete and the finals looming on Sunday, here are how the four teams fared thus far.
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Holy Cross boys, girls basketball are within reach of All 'A' trophies
One year after losing in the state semifinals, the Holy Cross Indians returned to Richmond on the hunt for a state trophy.
The girls' quest began with a 71-38 defeat of Leslie County in which Julia Hunt led the Indians with 18 points and six rebounds. Sarah Bottom added 11 points, while Aaliyah Hayes and Elizabeth McCoy chipped in 10 points each.
A rematch with Owen County awaited Holy Cross in the quarterfinal. The Lady Rebels defeated the Indians in last year's state semifinal, but this time it was the Indians coming out on top, winning handily by a score of 61-31. Nejai Lewis was Holy Cross' leading scorer with 13 points, and Miyah Wimzie wasn't far behind with 11 of her own.
Advancing to their third state semifinal in five years, the Lady Indians faced off against Pikeville Saturday. The Panthers advanced to the semifinals by blowing out Carlisle County and Danville, but once again, the Indians got the better of their opponent, winning 48-32.
"From a matchup perspective, Pikeville is very good. They're a very good team," Holy Cross head coach Ted Arlinghaus said.
The turning point was the middle two quarters of the game. Holy Cross led 13-9 after eight minutes of play but held the Panthers to eight total points in the second and third quarters to expand their lead to 36-17.
"I think we're really good defensively. Teddy pushes us on that in practice. We work on defense probably more than half the practice," Hunt said.
Additionally, the Indians held Pikeville's leading scorer Trinity Rowe to eight points. Aleah Arlinghaus led Holy Cross with 14 points. The Panthers couldn't match Hunt's height as she finished with nine points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.
The Indians are headed to their first All "A" state final since they won the tournament in 2015. They are also the first Northern Kentucky team to appear in the final since Walton-Verona went to three straight from 2019 to 2021. They will face the Bethlehem Banshees, who won back-to-back All "A" titles in 2020 and 2021.
"I hope that we can follow in (the 2015 team's) footsteps and bring home the state title back to Latonia. It means a lot," Arlinghaus said.
Just like their female counterparts, the Holy Cross boys returned to Richmond for the second straight year. They are looking for their fourth trophy, having previously won the event in 1980, 1988 and 2012.
Jacob Meyer, the state's leading scorer, paced the Indians to a 72-56 win over Danville with 37 points and 15 rebounds. Javier Ward chipped in 18 points of his own. Meyer continued his hot streak with 34 points and seven rebounds in a 60-45 win against Hazard. Ward was once again a reliable second option, contributing 12 points and six rebounds. Both of the Indians' first two games were close contests, but they were able to pull away to advance to the semifinal.
The Indians were able to create separation in their quarterfinal against Owensboro Catholic, in part because the Aces played a quadruple overtime game on Friday night. After trailing 14-10 at the end of the fourth quarter, Holy Cross went on a 19-6 run and took a 41-22 lead into halftime. Meyer scored 29 of his game-high 37 points in the first half.
"I just feel like when my teammates do what they do, it helps me get open," Meyer said.
Meyer is averaging 36 points through three games in Richmond and needs just eight in the championship game to set the all-time single tournament scoring record. In that championship game, the Indians will match up against Evangel Christian, who came back to beat Owen County in Saturday's first semifinal. In joining the girls team in the final, Holy Cross is just the third school to have their boys and girls team appear in the All "A" state championship game in the same year. The other three are Lexington Catholic (1992, 1995, 1997), Newport Central Catholic (2013) and Murray (2016).
"I think it's awesome for our alumni, our fans, our community. Hopefully, we have a big crowd down here for both games," head coach Casey Sorrell said.
Bishop Brossart boys, girls bow out in early rounds
Bishop Brossart began its tournament by defeating Jackson County 51-42. Olivia Lloyd led the Mustangs with 15 points, Jill Planeaux added 10 and Molly Kramer contributed eight points and 15 rebounds.
In their ninth trip to the state quarterfinals, Brossart bowed out to Bethlehem, losing 66-49. Zoee Meyers paced the Mustangs with 20 points on six three-pointers, but Brossart couldn't overcome a 58% first-half shooting effort by the Banshees.
The Bishop Brossart boys lost their first-round matchup Thursday against Hazard, 68-62. Seniors Mason Sepate (17 points), Anthony Kruse (14 points) and Brandon Bezold (11 points) scored in double figures. The game began on the wrong foot for the Mustangs, who found themselves in an early 18-1 deficit. They climbed back into the game throughout the third and fourth quarters, but couldn't get any closer than the final margin of six.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: KHSAA basketball: Holy Cross boys, girls teams to play for state title