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Newport advances to 9th Region boys semifinals with impressive performance in opening game

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Attack the paint.

That was the essence of the offensive game plan Newport took into its rematch with Beechwood in the first round of the 9th Region boys basketball tournament on Monday at Northern Kentucky University’s Truist Arena.

Newport coach Rod Snapp said his players didn’t do that very well in a 52-41 loss to Beechwood during the regular season. But the Wildcats were much more aggressive in the region opener and came away with a 74-46 win.

Newport freshman forward James Turner scores on one of his four slam dunks against Beechwood. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

Newport (26-6) will play Lloyd (19-9) in a region semifinal game at 2 p.m. Sunday. Beechwood finishes with an 11-20 record.

Beechwood started out playing zone defense and the Wildcats attacked it so efficiently that they took a 20-6 lead in the first quarter. The margin grew to 33-13 by halftime with most of Newport’s points coming in the paint, including six slam dunks.

The Wildcats put the game away with a 24-11 run in the third quarter. Senior forward Marquez Miller scored eight of his game-high 20 points and freshman forward James Turner delivered his fourth slam dunk during that decisive period.

Newport freshman guard Taylen Kinney said it was his team’s best offensive performance of the season and the final stats supported that claim. The Wildcats shot 63.6 percent (28 of 44) from the field with 22 assists.

“We play like that and we’re pretty hard to beat,” said Kinney, who had nine points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in his team’s 10th consecutive victory.

“The kids paid attention to detail and executed,” coach Snapp said. “We’ve set some pretty high standards for these guys and that’s what we’ve been putting on the board as keys to success.”

The Wildcats also turned in an exceptional defensive effort. They limited Beechwood to five field goals in the first half and the Tigers were shooting just 30 percent (10 of 33) from the field going into the fourth quarter.

Newport guard Taylen Kinney tries to avoid a steal by Cameron Boyd of Beechwood. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

Newport won the battle on the boards, 30-17, and had a 23-7 advantage on the defensive glass. In fact, all eight of Kinney’s rebounds came off missed shots by Beechwood.

“He’s a smart player,” coach Snapp said of Kinney. “He’s gets everybody involved and he’s easy to coach. He’s definitely a special player.”

Newport lost in the first round of the region tournament the last three years. If the Wildcats get past Lloyd on Sunday, they’ll be in the region final for the first time since 2010.

“We’re not going to take anybody for granted,” Kinney said. “We’re going to keep playing hard and try to win these next couple games.”

The 9th Region tournament games on Wednesday are Covington Catholic vs. St. Henry at 6:30 p.m. and Highlands vs. Cooper at 8 p.m.

BEECHWOOD     6    7  11  22 — 46
NEWPORT         20  13  24  17 — 74

BEECHWOOD (11-20): Goodwin 2 0 5, Logue 2 0 4, Kelly 1 0 2, Boyd 4 1 10, Sullivan 3 0 8, Harney 2 0 4, Wermuth 4 0 8, Murphy 1 0 3, Smith 1 0 2. Totals: 20 1 46.

NEWPORT (26-6): Turner 4 3 11, Miller 10 0 20, Kinney 3 2 9, Anderson 3 0 7, Covington 4 2 12, Silverton 0 3 3, Am Lowe 1 3 5, Ad Lowe 1 0 2, Lee 1 0 3, Nichols 1 0 2. Totals: 28 13 74.

3-point goals: B — Sullivan 2, Boyd, Murphy, Goodwin, Lawrie. N — Covington 2, Kinney, Anderson, Lee.

Boys region basketball tournaments

Covington Catholic (26-4) vs. St. Henry (14-13), 6:30 p.m.
Cooper (16-12) vs. Highlands (23-9), 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 5
Newport (26-6) vs. Lloyd (19-9), 2 p.m.
CovCath-St. Henry winner vs. Cooper-Highlands winner, 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7
Championship game, 7 p.m.

Mason County (27-5) vs. Nicholas County (11-21), 6 p.m.
Campbell County (21-11) vs. Paris (17-13), 7:45 p.m.
George Rogers Clark (24-5) vs. Augusta (18-13), 6 p.m.
Scott (14-18) vs. Harrison County (26-6), 7;45 p.m.
Monday, March 6
Semifinal games, 6 and 7:45 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7
Championship game, 7 p.m.

North Oldham (24-5) vs. Grant County (25-7), 6:30 p.m.
Owen County (24-8) vs. Woodford County (17-12), 8 p.m.
Simon Kenton (21-10) vs. Oldham County (16-15), 6:30 p.m.
Gallatin County (13-17) vs. Collins (24-7), 8 p.m.
Monday, March 6
Semifinal games, 6:30 and 8 p.m.
Tuesday, March 7
Championship game, 7 p.m.


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