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Prep Sports Notebook: Top-ranked basketball teams on opposite sides of Ohio River face off this week

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The top-ranked boys’ and girls’ high school basketball teams in Northern Kentucky preseason coaches polls have home games against the top-ranked Division I teams in Cincinnati this week.

CovCath senior guard C.J. Fredrick, right, is averaging 22.7 points and six assists after his team’s first three games.

On Tuesday, Covington Catholic will continue its annual interstate series with Moeller in boys’ basketball. Moeller was ranked 17th in the latest USA Today Super 25 national expert rankings after winning its first three games. The Crusaders have several players back from last year’s Ohio Division I state runner-up team.

On Thursday, Campbell County’s girls have a home game against Mount Notre Dame, the defending Ohio Division I state champion. Mount Notre Dame was ranked 20th in the USA Today Super 25 girls’ national expert rankings going into the season, but the Cougars dropped off the latest listing even though they’re off to a 5-1 start.

This will be the fifth time in six years that CovCath and Moeller have faced each other. CovCath won a game played in the opening weeks of 2012-13 season, but the teams did not meet the following year. Moeller beat CovCath the last three seasons by margins of nine, 13 and nine points.

Moeller’s leading scorer in each of its first three games this season was senior guard Isiah Payton with 17, 18 and 19 points. He also had nine assists for the Crusaders in those three victories. Jaxson Hayes, a 6-foot-10 senior forward recruited by Texas, is averaging 15.6 points and nine rebounds. Jeremiah Davenport, a 6-foot-5 guard headed to Wright State, posted a double-double in the team’s last game with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior guard Taylor Clos is one of three Campbell County players with double-figure scoring averages.

Three returning senior starters have led CovCath to a 3-0 record out of the gate. Senior guard C.J. Fredrick is averaging 22.7 points and six assists while the team’s other senior guard, Aiden Ruthsatz, is averaging 20 points and 3.6 assists. Jake Walter, a 7-foot-1 senior center, was a double-figure scorer in the Colonels’ last two games. He’s shooting 88.2 percent (15 of 17) from the field with 18 total rebounds.

All three of those CovCath players have made college commitments. Walter accepted a scholarship offer from Xavier University, Fredrick signed a letter of intent with Iowa and Ruthsatz will continue his career at Christian Brothers University, one of the nation’s top Division II programs.

Mount Notre Dame has three players who have made commitments with NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams. One of them is junior guard Gabbie Marshall, an Iowa recruit who has a team-high 16.8 scoring average. The team’s other college recruits are 6-foot senior forward Abby Voss (Florida Atlantic) and 6-foot junior forward Julia Hoefling (Loyola of Chicago).

The Cougars have a young backcourt combination in sophomore Marika Cook and freshman Laila Phelia. It will interesting see how they handle the intense defensive pressure that Campbell County has used so effectively in its first five victories.

The Camels are giving up only 44.2 points per game with a swarming full-court defense that has also created scoring opportunities. The team is averaging 67.6 points per game behind senior guards Taylor Clos and Lexie Stapleton and senior forward Mackenzie Schwarber, who all have double-figure scoring averages.

Clos, a Northern Kentucky University recruit, did not play in Saturday’s game against Nicholas County. Campbell County coach Beau Menefee said he held her out so she’d be “fresh” for a conference game at Ryle (4-2) on Tuesday and the showdown with Mount Notre Dame on Thursday.

Conner basketball player surpasses 1,000 mark in career scoring

Conner junior guard Courtney Hurst surpassed the 1,000-point mark in career scoring during her team’s 56-40 win over Cincinnati Roger Bacon on Saturday at Newport.

Hurst, who has played on the varsity basketball team since she was in the eighth grade, netted 11 points in Saturday’s victory to lift her team-leading scoring average to 12.6 for the 4-1 Cougars.

Last season, Hurst averaged 13.9 points with 79 3-point goals on the Conner team that made it to the semifinals of the 9th Region tournament. She was voted one of the top 12 Division I players in the area by the Northern Kentucky Girls’ Basketball Coaches Association.

Holmes senior Laila Johnson joined the 1,000-point club in her team’s first game this season. She’s currently averaging 17.6 points for the 5-0 Bulldogs, who won the 9th Region championship the last two years.

Dixie Heights retiring former soccer player’s jersey number

Dixie Heights will retire the jersey number for former all-state soccer player Lauren Nemeroff during halftime of its boys’ basketball game against Campbell County on Saturday.

Numeroff was named Miss Kentucky Soccer after her senior season in 2014 when she scored 17 goals with 11 assists. She started her college career at the University of Kentucky and then transferred to the University of Central Florida.

Last season, she played forward in 13 games for Central Florida, including the American Athletic Conference championship final and her team’s first-round game in the NCAA playoffs.

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