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All “A” Classic: Holy Cross captures 9th Region girls title with scoring surge in second half against Ludlow

By Brendan Connelly
NKyTribune sports reporter

After his team’s slow start in the first half of the 9th Region All “A” Classic championship game on Saturday, Holy Cross girls basketball coach Ted Arlinghaus delivered a list of expectations for his players.

“Don’t settle. Be the aggressor,” he told them. “Be the one to take it to the rim. Put the pressure on them. Go make plays.”

Holy Cross junior Elizabeth McCoy blocks a shot attempt by Mylee Garrett of Ludlow. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Senior forward Hanna Robinson responded to her coach’s message by scoring 13 second-half points to give the Indians the lift they needed to defeat Ludlow, 52-37, on the Panthers’ home court.

Holy Cross earned a berth in the Kentucky All “A” Classic small school state tournament for the first time since 2019. The Indians will play the 10th Region champion in a first-round game at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at Eastern Kentucky University’s McBrayer Arena.

Brossart won the 10th Region championship last year and the Mustangs will face Bracken County in the semifinals of this year’s tournament on Tuesday.

One night after beating Newport Central Catholic in a rematch of last year’s region title game, Holy Cross got off to a slow start against Ludlow before Julia Hunt and Sarah Bottom hit back-to-back shots that gave them a 12-9 lead after one quarter.

“We had an absolute battle last night with NewCath. I think probably it had more to do with nerves than anything else,” coach Arlinghaus said of his team’s shaky start.

Holy Cross forward Julia Hunt scored 13 points in the championship game and was named most valuable player. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Ludlow turned to its defense in the second quarter, forcing turnovers and missed shots during an 11-5 run that put the Panthers ahead, 20-17, at halftime. Sophomore guard Olivia King scored nine of Ludlow’s 11 points during that quarter, including two consecutive 3-point baskets.

While the first half featured even scoring distribution by both teams, the stars came out in the second half. Ludlow senior forward Jenna Lillard scored seven of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter. One of her baskets gave the Panthers their biggest lead of the night at 26-20.

Holy Cross tied the game at 26 on back-to-back threes from Elizabeth McCoy and Leah Arlinghaus. That’s when Robinson stepped up, scoring 13 points during an 18-7 run that put the Indians ahead, 44-33, late in the fourth quarter.

“She was one of the ones that we were sending the message to at halftime,” coach Arlinghaus said of Robinson, a transfer student from Grant County. “If the jumper’s not falling, attack the rim and get to the foul line, and that’s what she did.”

Holy Cross ended up outscoring Ludlow, 19-8, in the fourth quarter to come away with the victory that raised its record to 10-6. Hunt received the tournament’s most valuable player award with Robinson and Aleah Arlinghaus joining her on the all-tournament team. Lillard and King were the all-tournament selections for Ludlow.

Holy Cross sophomore Miyah Wimzie drives to the basket against Ludlow. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

It was the first game that Ludlow (12-4) lost on the court this season. The Panthers forfeited three games in late December due to COVID-19 implications.

The boys 9th Region All “A” Classic will get underway Monday at Villa Madonna Academy. St. Henry won the region title last year and went on to win the small school state championship.

The 8th Region boys and girls championship games are set for Sunday at Eminence High School. It will be Walton-Verona vs. Gallatin County in the boys final at 3 p.m. followed by Walton-Verona vs. Owen County in the girls final at 6 p.m.

Last season, Walton-Verona swept the region titles and the girls team lost in the championship game of the All “A” Classic state tournament for the third consecutive year.

HOLY CROSS  12   5  16  19 — 52
LUDLOW            9  11   9    8 — 37

HOLY CROSS (10-6): McCoy 2 0 5, Hunt 5 2 13, Arlinghaus 2 2 8, Wimzie 2 2 7, Bottom 1 3 6, Robinson 3 6 13. Totals: 15 15 52.
LUDLOW (12-4):  Lillard 5 2 13, P. King 2 0 5, O. King 4 1 11, A. Garrett 1 0 2, M. Garrett 0 1 1, Arnold 1 0 2, Hoffmeister 1 1 3,. Totals: 14 5 37.
3-point goals: HC — Arlinghaus 2, McCoy, Hunt, Wimzie, Bottom, Robinson. L — O. King 2, Lillard, P. King.

All “A” Classic girls region tournaments

Championship: Walton-Verona (9-7) vs. Owen County (9-6), 6 p.m.

Robertson County vs. Paris, 7:30 p.m.
Brossart vs. Bracken County, 7:30 p.m.
Championship game, 7:30 p.m.

All “A” Classic boys region tournaments

Championship: Walton-Verona (8-6) vs. Gallatin County (8-4), 3 p.m.

Calvary Christian vs. St. Patrick, 6 p.m.
Brossart vs. Bracken County, 6 p.m.
Championship game, 6 p.m.


Dayton vs. Villa Madonna, 6 p.m.
Holy Cross vs. Bellevue, 7:45 p.m.
Heritage vs. Dayton-Villa Madonna winner, 6 p.m.
Newport Central Catholic vs. Ludlow, 7:45 p.m.
Beechwood vs. Holy Cross-Bellevue winner, 6 p.m.
Newport vs. St. Henry, 7:45 p.m.
Semifinal games, 6 and 7:45 p.m.
Saturday at Thomas More University
Championship game, 2 p.m.



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