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St. Henry coach says depth was the key to his team winning All “A” Classic boys state tournament

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

RICHMOND — St. Henry basketball player Wyatt Vieth had one regret about making the varsity roster when he was a freshman. It was a great opportunity, but moving up separated him from guys who had been his teammates all through grade school.

Vieth and his childhood buddies are back together this season and they got to share the thrill of winning the All “A” Classic state championship Sunday when St. Henry defeated Frankfort, 77-70, in the title game at McBrayer Arena.

St. Henry junior guard Wyatt Vieth makes a baseline drive during the All “A” Classic championship game. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

“It’s just an amazing feeling to do it with my best friends,” said Vieth, who scored a game-high 30 points and was named the state tournament’s most valuable player. “It’s was a total team effort. It wasn’t just me. Game in and game out, we all work together. It’s like poetry in motion.”

Vieth is one of six juniors in a nine-player rotation that carried St. Henry to its second small school state championship under veteran coach Dave Faust. The first title came in 2003, which is probably the year the juniors on the current roster were born.

“I think probably the biggest thing has been our depth through out the tournament,” Faust said. “That has really been the key.”

In four tournament games, the Crusaders got 85 points off the bench for a 21.2 average. In the title game, junior guard Ryan Butler provided 15 points, three assists and three rebounds in 22 minutes as a substitute player.

A basket by Butler put St. Henry ahead, 37-22, with 1:38 remaining in the second quarter, but Frankfort made a late run and cut it to 38-29 at halftime. At the break, the Crusaders were shooting 55.6 percent (15 of 27) from the field compared to the Panthers’ 42.3 percent (11 of 26).

In the third quarter, Vieth scored eight points and Butler had seven as St. Henry expanded its lead to 57-41. Once again, Frankfort came charging back and pulled to within five points, 64-59, on a 3-point goal with 2:52 remaining in the final quarter.

St. Henry guard Ryan Butler runs into a road block on his drive to the basket. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

The Crusaders scored five of their next seven points at the free throw line to open up a 71-61 lead. Then they made their last six foul shots to secure the win.

“Give credit to Frankfort, they came back like gangbusters,” coach Faust said. “But I think down the stretch we got the ball where it needed to be and they were fouling our best free throw shooters.”

St. Henry ended up with a 22-13 scoring advantage at the line. The Crusaders made 22 of 26 free throws for 84.6 percent in the game. They went 54-for-60 for 90 percent during the tournament.

From the field, St. Henry shot 52.1 percent (25 of 48) with Vieth connecting on 10 of 17 and Butler hitting 7 of 9. The team’s other double-figure scorer was junior forward Jude Bessler, who got 12 points between stints on the bench due to foul trouble.

Butler and Bessler are two of the friends Vieth grew up with playing sports while they were in grade school.

“It’s so good playing with all these guys again,” Vieth said. “It’s like we never left and we’re clicking on all cylinders. It’s truly amazing, and I love it.”

Bessler, Butler and senior forward Luke Maher were the other St. Henry players named to the all-tournament team. After receiving the state championship trophy, coach Faust wanted to pay tribute to Stan Steidel, founder of the All “A” Classic who passed away in November.

Steidel was head basketball coach at Dayton High School in the 9th Region when he started the small school state tournament in 1990.

“I just want to say how special it is for the 9th Region to win it this year just because of the tireless work he put into making this tournament what it is today,” Faust said.

ST. HENRY     16  22  19  20 — 77
FRANKFORT  17  12  12  29 — 70

ST. HENRY (16-3): Vieth 10 8 30, Maher 2 0 4, Bessler 4 3 12, Connor Shea 2 4 9, Cory Shea 0 4 4, Butler 7 0 15. Ravenscraft 0 1 1, Teeten 0 2 2. Totals: 25 22 77.

FRANKFORT (11-13): Austin 1 2 4, Twombly 5 5 17, Ellis 4 4 12, Blythe 6 1 14, W. O’Bryan 4 0 10, N. O’Bryan 2 0 4, Miklavcic 2 1 6, Hack 1 0 3. Totals: 25 13 70.

3-pointers: SH — Vieth 2, Bessler, Butler, Connor Shea. F — Twombly 2, O’Bryan 2, Blythe, Miklavcic, Hack.

2020 —
St. Henry 77, Frankfort 70
2018 —
Lexington Christian 47, Walton-Verona 41
— Paris 66, Newport Central Catholic 48
2015 — Newport Central Catholic 78, Monroe County 36
2014 — Newport Central Catholic 72, Cordia 61
2013 — Newport Central Catholic 75, Bardstown 54
2012 — Holy Cross 52, Bardstown 51
2007 — Bishop Brossart 56, Bardstown 48
2004 — Hazard 43, Bishop Brossart 38
2003 — St. Henry 81, Rose Hill Christian 62
2001 — Newport Central Catholic 52, Highview Baptist 33
1998 — University Heights 59, St. Henry 42

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