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Holy Cross guards tie scoring records, Dixie Heights dominates in 9th Region boys first-round games

By Brendan Connelly
NKyTribune sports reporter

Two Holy Cross players tied 9th Region boys basketball tournament records in their team’s 80-74 win over Conner in a first-round game on Sunday at BB&T Arena.

Junior guard Jacob Meyer scored 41 points to tie the tournament single-game scoring record set by Scott Draud of Highlands in the first round of the 1985 tournament. Draud also holds the 9th Region record for most points in a season with 1,094. Meyer now has 1,069.

Holy Cross guard Jacob Meyer looks for an open teammate as he’s hounded by a Conner defender. (Photo by Ted Jackson)

Javier Ward, another junior guard for Holy Cross, tied a tournament record for most 3-point goals in a game with seven and finished with 27 points. Chris Drier of Dixie Heights set that record by getting seven treys in the first round of the 1995 region tournament.

Ward’s teammates made four 3-pointers in the game for a total of 11. Highlands set a tournament record with 15 treys in last year’s championship final.

In the first half of Sunday’s game, Ward made five treys and scored 19 points to lead his team to a 40-28 halftime lead.

“We all trust Javi to hit big shots, and that’s what he always does in big games.” Meyer said.

Meyer and Ward combined to score 18 of their team’s 21 points during the third quarter, but Conner came on strong at the end of the period and trailed 61-51 with eight minutes remaining.

The Cougars’ rally continued in the fourth quatter and the Conner student section grew louder with every basket. A three from Ayden Lohr punctuated the run, tying the game at 63.

The teams went back and forth until five straight points from Meyer gave the Indians a 72-67 advantage that they would not relinquish.

Dixie Heights senior Kiernan Geraci’s drive to the basket is challenged by James Turner of Newport. (Photo by Ted Jackson)

“I’m proud of our guys,” said Holy Cross first-year head coach Casey Sorrell. “They hung in there. They kept fighting the whole way and came out with a win.”

Conner finished with four scorers in double figures. Alex Castrucci had a team-high 18, followed by Dalton Kramer with 17. Lohr and Daniel Campbell had 16 and 14 points.

Holy Cross advances to the region semifinals to play Dixie Heights at 8 p.m. Sunday. The Colonels used their interior size to defeat Newport, 51-37, in the first round.

Dixie Heights senior guard Kiernan Geraci and senior center Billy Wogenstahl were the game’s leading scorers with 16 points each. Wogenstahl dominated in the paint and scored several baskets off his 11 offensive rebounds.

Dixie Heights led 20-15 at halftime and extended it to 38-27 in the third quarter. Newport pulled to within seven points in the fourth quarter before the Colonels sealed the win by converting nine of 12 free throws.

Newport’s leading scorers were senior guard Evan Snapp with 12 points and junior forward Marquez Miller with 11.

This is the third time in five years that Dixie Heights has made it to the 9th Region semifinals. The Colonels defeated Holy Cross in the 2018 semifinals and the teams split regular season games the next two seasons. The last time they faced each other was February of 2020 and Dixie Heights came away with an 85-81 win.

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