A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Holy Cross girls recover from poor shooting first half to win 9th Region All “A” Classic title game

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Home court advantage was a non-factor for Holy Cross in the first half of the 9th Region All “A” Classic girls basketball championship game on Saturday. The Indians missed 22 of 28 field goal attempts in their own gym and trailed St. Henry, 34-28, at the halftime break.

Everyone in the Holy Cross locker room at halftime knew what it would take for them to win the game and earn a berth in the small-school state tournament for the third straight year.

Holy Cross forward Jade Simpson puts up a shot after driving past Chisom Iloegbunam of St. Henry. (Photo by Mary Lynn Lampke)

“We weren’t hitting shots,” said Holy Cross junior forward Jade Simpson. “So we knew we had to hit them in the second half and we really had to buckle down on defense if we wanted to go back (to the state tournament) this year.”

The Indians outscored St. Henry, 14-1, in the third quarter to surge into the lead and ended up with a 49-36 victory to earn a return trip to the Kentucky All “A” Classic state tournament at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

Holy Cross (15-4) will play 13th Region champion Middlesboro (7-11) in the opening game of the 16-team bracket at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 at McBrayer Arena.

“We take this seriously and take a lot of pride in it,” Holy Cross coach Marty Rankin said of his team’s success in the small-school playoffs. “Hopefully, we can go down and represent Northern Kentucky well in Richmond.”

St. Henry seemed to be in a position to win its first 9th Region All “A” Classic championship since 1996 when it entered the second half of Saturday’s game with a six-point lead. But the Crusaders went 0-for-10 from the field, 1-for-8 at the line and committed six turnovers in the third quarter to fall behind, 32-25, with eight minutes left to play.

“I don’t think it was so much their defense,” St. Henry coach Steve Brown said of his team’s third-quarter swoon. “We just started to press and had some kids do some things we didn’t really want to do and got discombobulated.”

Holy Cross players receive the regional championship trophy for the third straight year. (Photo by Mary Lynn Lampke)

St. Henry’s first field goal of the second half came with a 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. But Holy Cross senior guard Olivia Crigler answered with a 3-point basket that put her team ahead, 35-27.

The Indians scored 12 of their final 14 points with free throws and finished with an 18-5 scoring advantage at the foul line.

Holy Cross ended up shooting 27.6 percent (13 of 47) from the field compared to St. Henry’s 29.7 percent (14 of 47). At the free throw line, the Indians were 18-for-24 and the Crusaders were 5-for-18.

“Free throws killed us,” coach Brown said. “Other than that, I thought we were right there with them in this ball game.”

Simpson, who was named the regional tournament’s most valuable player, scored six of her 10 points during the Indians’ 14-1 run in the third quarter. Crigler took game-high honors with 16 points. St. Henry’s top scorer was senior guard Ashley Ives with 10 points.

“Scoring in the 40s kind of bothers me,” coach Rankin said of his team’s point total. “We’ve had four games in the 40s and we lost the first two, but we won our last two. So we’re starting to learn and put together possessions down the stretch, which is good because it shows we’re growing as a team.”

HOLY CROSS  12    6  14  17 – 49
ST. HENRY       10  14    1  11 – 36

HOLY CROSS (15-4): Arlinghaus 1 4 7, Crigler 5 2 16, Simpson 2 6 10, Thomas 4 1 9, McClendon 1 2 4, Bezold 0 3 3. Totals: 13 18 49.

ST. HENRY (12-5): Iloegbunam 0 1 1, Schaefer 2 0 4, Millay 3 1 8, Ferris 2 0 5, Flanagan 2 0 4, Ives 3 3 10. Totals: 14 5 36

Three-pointers: HC – Crigler 4, Arlinghaus. SH – Millay, Ferris, Ives.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Holy Cross –
Jade Simpson (MVP), Olivia Crigler, Trinity McClendon. St. Henry – Abby Millay, Chisom Iloegbunam. NewCath – Rylee Turner. Ludlow – Morgan Lantry. Newport – Braelyn Hambrick. Villa Madonna – Kayla Unkraut. Dayton – Grace Workman. Bellevue – Morgan Mardis. Beechwood – Jocelyn Stokes.

All “A” Classic regional tournament schedules

8TH REGION BOYS AT TRIMBLE COUNTY
Tuesday
Championship: Walton-Verona vs. Gallatin County, 7 p.m.

9TH REGION BOYS AT NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Monday

Newport at Beechwood, 6 p.m.
Newport Central Catholic vs. Heritage, 8 p.m.
Tuesday
Holy Cross vs. Villa Madonna, 6 p.m.
St. Henry vs. Ludlow, 8 p.m.
Wednesday
Bellevue vs. Newport-Beechwood winner, 6 p.m.
Dayton vs. NewCath-Heritage winner, 8 p.m.
Friday
Semifinal games, 6 and 8 p.m.
Saturday
Championship game, 7 p.m.

10TH REGION BOYS AT CAMPBELL COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL
Monday
Nicholas County vs. Calvary Christian, 7:45 p.m.
Tuesday
Paris vs. Bracken County, 7:45 p.m.
Wednesday
St. Patrick vs. Augusta, 7:45 p.m.
Thursday
Brossart vs. Robertson County, 7:45 p.m.
Saturday
Semifinal games, 2:45 and 6:15 p.m.
Sunday
Championship game, 4 p.m.

10TH REGION GIRLS AT CAMPBELL COUNTY MIDDLE SCHOOL
Monday
Nicholas County vs. Calvary Christian, 6 p.m.
Tuesday
Paris vs. Bracken County, 6 p.m.
Wednesday
St. Patrick vs. Augusta, 6 p.m.
Thursday
Brossart vs. Robertson County, 6 p.m.
Saturday
Semifinal games, 1 and 4:30 p.m.
Sunday
Championship game, 2 p.m.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment