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CovCath opens season with 71-46 win over Dixie Heights; Highlands knocks off Ashland Blazer

NKyTribune staff

Three-time defending 9th Region champion Covington Catholic opened the season Monday night with a convincing 71-46 win at Dixie Heights.

Mitchell Rylee scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead CovCath, which shot 58.7 percent from the field. Rylee, who played at Beechwood last season and averaged 8.4 points per game for the Tigers, made eight field goals in nine attempts in his CovCath debut.

CovCath’s Mitchell Rylee powers inside for a basket on Monday night against Dixie Heights. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Evan Ipsaro added 13 points for the Colonels, while teammate Chandler Starks finished with 12 points. Starks also grabbed four rebounds.

Colin McHale and John Ipsaro each netted seven points for CovCath. Donovan Stocks added six points and three rebounds.

A year ago, CovCath posted a 77-45 victory over Dixie Heights in Park Hills. Dixie Heights finished with a 10-21 record last season, but the Colonels qualified for the 9th Region Tournament after advancing to the 34th District championship game.

CovCath captured last season’s 9th Region Tournament crown with a 59-54 win over Highlands in the championship game. The Colonels are seeking their fourth consecutive regional title.

CovCath plays host to Ryle at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

HIGHLANDS SNAPS ASHLAND BLAZER’S WIN STREAK: Ashland Paul Blazer entered Monday night’s opener at Highlands with a 33-game winning streak. The Tomcats posted a 33-0 record last season and were denied a chance to win the state title by the cancellation of the Sweet 16 due to the pandemic.

Highlands, however, ended Ashland Blazer’s winning streak on Monday night with an 84-75 victory in Fort Thomas. Sam Vinson poured in 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Highlands. Vinson, a 6-foot-5 senior guard who signed with Northern Kentucky University during the fall, is expected to be the 9th Region’s top player this season.

The Bluebirds built a 40-28 halftime lead and held off a late rally by the visiting Tomcats to collect the season-opening win. Ashland Blazer entered the game ranked No. 3 in the state preseason poll.

William Herald drained five 3-pointers and finished with 15 points for Highlands. Zachary Barth added 12 points for the Bluebirds, who bolted out to a 13-2 lead early in the first quarter.

Highlands posted a 28-4 record last season and is expected to challenge CovCath for this year’s 9th Region title. Two of the Bluebirds’ losses last season were against CovCath.

The Bluebirds won 14 consecutive games to open the 2019-20 campaign. Conner snapped the Highlands unbeaten streak last season with a 73-61 win in Hebron.

THOMAS MORE WOMEN REMAIN PERFECT: Zoie Barth scored 21 points and collected four steals as the Thomas More women’s basketball team improved to 11-0 with a 73-61 win at Georgetown (Ky.) on Monday afternoon.

Courtney Hurst added 14 points for the Saints, who are ranked No. 8 nationally in the NAIA poll. Thomas More improved to 6-0 in the Mid-South Conference.

Taylor Clos chipped in 13 points and three assists for Thomas More, which shot 45 percent from the field. The Saints held Georgetown (1-4 overall, 0-3 Mid-South Conference) to 40.7 percent shooting from the field.

Jay Flynn (13) of Dixie Heights drives to the basket against CovCath during the season opener on Monday night. CovCath posted a 71-46 victory. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

CovCath’s Chandler Starks (42) attempts a shot while being defended by Dixie Heights’ Billy Wogenstahl on Monday night. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Donovan Stocks of CovCath looks to pass against Dixie Heights. CovCath won the season opener by a 71-46 score on Monday night. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

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