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Prep Sports Notebook: February was memorable month for Simon Kenton basketball player

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Simon Kenton senior guard Kelly Niece capped off a spectacular month of basketball Saturday night when he scored 42 points in his team’s 87-83 win over Ashland Paul Blazer.

In 10 games last month, Niece scored 325 points for a 32.5 average and became the Pioneers’ all-time leading scorer with 2,237 points in five varsity seasons. He also climbed into second place on the state’s list of leading scorers this season with a 29.9 average through 17 games.

Kelly Niece

Niece scored 30 points or more in six of the last 10 games, surpassing 40 points three times. In those 10 games, he made 134 of 211 field goals for 63.5 percent, 22 of 45 3-point shots for 48.8 percent and 46 of 51 free throws for 90.1 percent.

The previous Simon Kenton team record for career points was 2,128 by 1995 graduate Jeff Krohman. He was at Friday’s game when Niece scored 35 points against North Oldham to break the record.

Niece’s older sister, Ally, was also at that game. She scored more than 2,900 points during her high school basketball career that began at Scott and ended at Simon Kenton, where she holds the girls all-time scoring record. 

On Saturday, Niece made a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds left on the clock to give Simon Kenton a two-point lead and Blazer missed a desperation shot as the final horn sounded.

It was a dramatic ending to a memorable month for the senior guard, who has four games remaining on the regular-season schedule before the playoffs begin. Niece should be among the leading contenders for Division I Player of the Year in the Northern Kentucky coaches poll once again. He finished second in the balloting the last two years.

Draud needs 68 points to break 9th Region boys scoring record

Beechwood senior guard Scotty Draud enters the final two weeks of the regular season needing 22 points to reach 3,000 in his career and 68 to become the all-time leading scorer in 9th Region’s boys basketball.

Scotty Draud

Draud scored 110 points in his team’s last four games to raise his career total to 2,978 in four varsity seasons. That puts him in second place on the region’s all-time scoring list ahead of his father’s 2,868 third-place total. 

The only 9th Region boys basketball player who scored more than 3,000 points is 2014 Dixie Heights graduate Brandon Hatton, who netted 3,045 points in six varsity seasons.

Beechwood has six games remaining on its regular-season schedule and the third one is at Dixie Heights on Friday. If Draud maintains his current 24.7 scoring average, he could have a shot at breaking the record that night. 

The Tigers are riding a four-game winning streak that lifted their record to 18-5. They need two more victories to post their third consecutive 20-win season under coach Erik Goetz.

Earlier this season, Goetz became the winningest coach in the history of the Beechwood basketball program. The Tigers have compiled a 132-95 record in eight seasons with him in charge.

Scott girls basketball player selected for Donna Murphy Award

Scott forward Sofia Allen will receive this year’s Donna Murphy Award for being the outstanding senior student-athlete in Kentucky girls high school basketball. 

Sofia Allen

Allen is averaging 15 points and eight rebounds for the 13-6 Eagles and surpassed the 1,000 mark in career scoring earlier this season. A National Honor Society student with a 3.9 GPA, she is a member of student council and involved with community service projects.

Allen will be attending the University of Tampa on an academic scholarship and plans to continue her basketball career with the NCAA Division II program.

The annual student-athlete award is named for former Newport player Donna Murphy, the first Miss Kentucky Basketball in 1975. Last year’s winner was Ryle senior Maddie Scherr, who was also named Miss Kentucky Basketball.

“This year, all of the nominees were very admirable, but Sofia is a standout player and person on and off the court and she definitely deserves to be recognized,” Murphy said.

The seventh annual Donna Murphy Award will be presented April 18 during the Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball virtual awards ceremony sponsored by the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation.

Cooper graduate among top 10 in steals in Division I basketball

Cooper graduate Lexi Held finished the regular season at DePaul University with 72 steals in 21 games for a 3.42 average that ranks among the top 10 in NCAA Division I women’s basketball.

Held ranked eighth in the nation in that category going into Monday’s season finale against Butler. She took the ball away seven times in that game to raise her season average to 3.42.

The junior guard is also averaging 16.9 points and 4.0 assists per game for the Blue Demons, who take a 14-7 record into the Big East Conference tournament that begins Friday.


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