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CovCath makes statement with 53-47 win over Cooper in showdown between area’s top teams

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

With two state championship banners hanging from the gym rafters, the Covington Catholic boys basketball team had a proud reputation to uphold in Friday’s home game against Cooper.

In the latest Northern Kentucky coaches poll, Cooper replaced CovCath as the No. 1 team in the area, but the Colonels won the showdown, 53-47, to get some of their swagger back.

CovCath junior guard Grant Disken scored 18 points in the win over Cooper. (File photo by Dale Dawn)

“This was huge,” CovCath senior forward Nick Thelen said after the victory. “It was a statement for us. Everyone in Northern Kentucky thought Cooper was so much better than us. We showed who was No. 1 tonight.”

Even though all five starters on last year’s state championship team graduated, CovCath has carried on its winning tradition with a 14-4 record this season. The win over Cooper (14-3) underlines the fact that the Colonels are top contenders once again.

“Our skill level is different from last year’s team so you’ve got to put these guys in position to be successful,” said CovCath coach Scott Ruthsatz. “Hopefully, that’s what we’re doing.”

After eight lead changes in the first half, CovCath went on a 10-3 run in the third quarter to open up a 33-23 advantage. During that run, the Colonels were 5-for-5 from the field with all of the baskets coming in the paint.

“We’ve got some really good bigs and we work our tails off down in the paint,” said Thelen, who got two of the five field goals. “We just call for the ball and they get it in to us, thanks to our guards who get most of the assists.”

Nick Thelen

Cooper was 0-for-7 from the field in the third quarter. The only points came on three free throws by senior forward Ty Houston. He tried to rally the Jaguars in the fourth quarter when he scored seven of his 18 points, but the closest they got was 52-47 with 0:17 left.

CovCath’s leading scorer was junior guard Grant Disken, who scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half when he made all four of his 3-point goals.

The Colonels didn’t even attempt a 3-point shot in the second half. All nine of their field goals during the final two quarters came in the paint with Thelen getting four of them to finish with 14 points.

“We’re just a diverse team,” Disken said. “We’re got Nick and other big guys who can score down low and other guys who are perimeter shooters. We can win games by doing both. That’s just something we take pride in during practice.”

CovCath ended up shooting 68 percent (17 of 25) from the field compared to Cooper’s 45.5 percent (15 of 33). The Colonels also had a 20-13 rebounding advantage with Thelen pulling down five.

Cooper senior guard Blaine Walters, who missed six games with an undisclosed injury, saw limited action Friday and did not score. He averaged 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds in 10 games before he went out.

COOPER       9  11    3  24  — 47
COVCATH   10  13  10  20  — 53

COOPER (14-3): Deere 2 5 9, Baker 2 0 4, Houston 5 5 18, Spencer 3 2 8, Hampton 1 0 3, Pearson 1 0 2, Centers 1 1 3. Totals: 15 13 47.

COVCATH (14-4): Disken 5 4 18, Moser 1 0 2, Fleek 4 0 8, Thelen 5 4 14, Green 1 5 7, Jackson 1 1 4. Totals: 17 14 53.

Three-pointers: COV – Disken 4, Jackson 1. COO – Houston 3, Hampton 1.

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One Comment

  1. Jen says:

    You meant to say “KKK youth” make statement.

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