Jacob Meyer entered the Ninth Region Tournament averaging more than 38 points per game.
Doing that in the regular season is one thing. Scoring that many with the season on the line is quite another matter but the Holy Cross junior did just that Saturday night.
Meyer scored 41 points in the regional quarterfinals against Conner at Northern Kentucky University’s BB&T Arena. And his team needed all of them as the junior delivered a chunk of them in crunch time.
Meyer’s 41 points led Holy Cross to an 80-74 win over Conner in the quarterfinal round Saturday night at BB&T Arena. HC, 21-9 overall, plays Dixie Heights (21-6) in the second semifinal Sunday night at 8 p.m. Conner finishes 20-10.
The 41-point effort ties a tournament record Highlands legend Scott Draud set in 1985.
He scored 11 points out of 12 for Holy Cross after Conner rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to tie the game at 63.
He made four baskets in a row, all in the paint, to give Holy Cross a 72-67 lead with two minutes to play, then hit four free throws after that. Meyer also had six assists and four steals.
A basket by Meyer gave Holy Cross a 19-point lead at 57-38 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Cougars exploded from there, going on a 25-6 run to tie the game at 63 in the fourth period on a 3-pointer by Ayden Lohr, who had 12 points in the run. Dalton Kramer started the run with a pair of threes.
The teams traded points to tie at 65 and 67 before Meyer took over the game for good.
“It’s all my teammates. They trust me,” Meyer said. “Our leader Maddux Hoffman told us to stay calm.”
Said HC head coach Casey Sorrell: “I just told them to stay the course, do what you do. We knew we had to get stops. Digging deep, finding ways to get stops and rebounds. I’m proud of our guys. They hung in there.”
Holy Cross's Javier Ward scored 27 points, 19 in the first half. He made 7-of-10 3-pointers in the game. The seven threes ties a tournament record.
“I call them Batman and Robin,” Sorrell said. “They’re really good at playing off of each other, the two-man game and the chemistry that they have. A lot of it starts with Jake because he can go downhill and attract so much attention. The defense collapses on him and that opens up lanes for Javy. Give Javy credit for stepping up and knocking down shots.”
Said Meyer: “It’s really good to have two of us. We trust Javy to hit big shots and he’s done it all year.”
Led by their dynamic duo, Holy Cross lit up the basket in the first half, making 8-of-13 3-pointers.
Ward was 5-of-7 from 3-point range and had 19 points in the half. Meyer posted 13 points with five assists. HC limited Conner to 35.5 percent shooting in the first half.
Holy Cross led 14-4, with Meyer scoring eight of the points and Ward five.
The Indians extended the lead late in the first quarter, hitting three consecutive triples, one from Zach Arlinghaus and two from Ward, and led 26-10 after one quarter.
Holy Cross hit three more triples late in the second quarter. Maddux Hoffman hit one to put HC up 15 at 34-19. Ward added two more and the Indians led 40-28 at halftime.
Holy Cross post players Dylan Arlinghaus, Sam Gibson and Cade Lehmkuhl had big nights. The trio only combined for five points but had 25 total rebounds to lead HC to a plus-eight rebounding margin.
Arlinghaus had zero points but 12 rebounds and two assists. Gibson posted six rebounds and five blocked shots. Lehmkuhl had seven boards.
“Everything helps,” Arlinghaus said. “Obviously Jake and Javy’s points help, but we put in a team effort tonight.”
Conner had four players in double figures.
HOLY CROSS: Z. Arlinghaus 1 1 4, Ward 10 0 27, Hoffman 1 0 3, Meyer 14 11 41, Gibson 1 1 3, Lehmkuhl 0 2 2. Totals: 27 15 80.
CONNER: Hamilton 2 1 5, Kramer 6 0 15, Lohr 6 4 18, Campbell 5 4 14, Castrucci 7 3 18, Cook 2 0 4. Totals: 28 18 74.
Halftime, HC 40-28. 3-pointers: HC 11 (Ward 7, Meyer 2, Hoffman, Z. Arlinghaus), C 6 (Kramer 3, Lohr 2, Castrucci).
Veteran seniors help Dixie Heights past Newport, 51-37
DIXIE HEIGHTS 51, NEWPORT 37: Dixie Heights’ veteran seniors were too much for the Wildcats, who finished 9-19.
Dixie, 21-6 overall, advances to play Holy Cross in Sunday’s second semifinal, tipping off around 8 p.m. The teams did not play in the regular season.
Dixie’s veterans took over during a decisive run in the third quarter. The Colonels were able to get several transition buckets, and senior center Billy Wogenstahl had two putback layups.
Senior Kiernan Geraci and senior Logan Landers had three baskets apiece during the third quarter, which ended with Dixie up 11 at 38-27.
Wogenstahl and Geraci each had 16 points and 11 rebounds. Landers ended with 11 points. Wogenstahl had 11 offensive rebounds and two blocks as Dixie shot 55 percent from the floor and limited Newport to 30 percent shooting.
“He’s really good at reading the ball coming off the rim and getting stickbacks,” said Dixie head coach Roddy Stainforth of Wogenstahl. “He’s an exceptional offensive rebounder and he has been all year. We’ve been relying on that all year. He gets us going when he does that, and we have guys who attack the rim and get us in position to do that.”
Marquez Miller scored Newport’s first five points and had seven for the half.
Leading 8-7 after one quarter, Dixie started the second quarter on a 6-0 run. Wogenstahl scored two baskets in a row, and Hudson Blank scored on a drive. A basket by Geraci put Dixie up 22-15 at halftime.
Geraci, Blank and Wogenstahl all had six points in the first half, and senior Logan Landers had four.
DIXIE HEIGHTS: Landers 5 1 11, Bock 0 1 1, Flynn 0 1 1, Geraci 6 4 16, Blank 3 0 6, Wogenstahl 7 2 16. Totals: 21 9 51.
NEWPORT: Kinney 1 0 3, Jefferson 1 2 4, Turner 2 2 7, Miller 3 5 11, Snapp 4 0 12. Totals: 11 9 37.
Halftime: D 22-15. 3-pointers: D 0, N 6 (Snapp 4, Turner, Kinney).
Ryan Davis comes off the bench to lead Lloyd Memorial past Highlands
LLOYD MEMORIAL 75, HIGHLANDS 64: Despite missing six weeks to a knee injury, Ryan Davis was ready to help prove the Lloyd Memorial boys basketball team is a strong program again.
Davis came off the bench to lead Lloyd with 18 points, helping the Juggernauts to a 75-64 win over Highlands in the first KHSAA Ninth Region quarterfinal Saturday at BB&T Arena.
Lloyd, 22-7 overall, advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2012 in its first appearance in the tourney since 2017. The Juggernauts did so by eliminating the reigning state champions, who finished 22-9.
Lloyd had won by 13, 91-78, in Fort Thomas Feb. 8, which gave the team some added confidence in the all-to-play-for rematch.
“We were confident coming in,” said Lloyd second-year head coach Mike Walker. “Highlands is the defending champs: Great program, great coach. The win there was one of the significant wins of our season, and it let us know we’re one of the top programs. They’re a good matchup for us. They like to go up and down, we go up and down. I thought it was a good draw for us.”
Davis was the team’s leading scorer for the season before the injury put him out for six weeks. He came back in mid-February but his conditioning isn’t back yet.
Davis hit three-straight 3-pointers to lift Lloyd from a 12-7 deficit to within one at 17-16 early in the second period. Lloyd shot 11-of-19 from the 3-point line in the game.
“Really just trusting my shot and trusting my teammates to put me in position to be successful,” Davis said. “Staying in the gym and building confidence. That was my main role going into the game, catch and shoot, because I’m a little slower from the injury. Play hard, play some defense.”
Trailing 31-28 at halftime, Lloyd outscored the Bluebirds 22-14 to lead 50-45 after three periods. Six different players scored in the quarter. That was the key to the game, as including Davis, five players scored in double figures.
“That’s our biggest thing,” Walker said. “That’s the way I coach. I want to have five, six guys in double figures or close to it. That makes it tougher for teams to guard us when we share the ball and play together.”
Lloyd led 56-50 in the fourth quarter when Highlands junior Will Herald hit a 3-pointer. Herald led Highlands with 29 points and was 5-of-9 from the 3-point arc.
Senior Teyon Neale answered with a 3-pointer for Lloyd. Nathan Vinson scored a layup for Highlands, then Neale hit another three to put Lloyd up 62-55. Those threes were Neale’s only points of the game but came at a big time.
Davis’ fifth three put the game away by putting Lloyd up 11 at 66-55.
Walker had to give younger players more time on the court after his midseason injury, which he said is helping the team now.
“We’re starting something different here at Lloyd, changing the culture,” Davis said. “I hope once we (the seniors) go out, the younger kids can keep it going.”
Jeremiah Israel had 16 points and four assists for Lloyd. Freshman E.J. Walker, a 6-foot-7 freshman with two Division I offers, had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Garrett Vogelpohl had 12 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. Zaire Monroe had 10 points. Lloyd outrebounded Highlands by 10 and shot 57.5 percent from the floor.
The historic win was a season-long project for the Juggernauts.
“It means we changed the culture, changed things at Lloyd,” Walker said. “It allows us to become one of the best programs in Northern Kentucky. I stand by that, I stand by these kids. We have great community support.”
For Highlands, senior Zach Barth had 10 points, four assists and four steals. Senior Oliver Harris had nine points and five assists, and senior Cole Kocher had seven points. Austin Duncan and Leyton Read, a starter who suffered a season-ending injury late in the season, are other seniors.
The Highlands seniors leave with 100 all-time wins, reaching the century mark by winning the 36th District final over Newport last week.
“That was a big accomplishment,” Barth said after that game. “Coach mentioned it a couple of games ago and that was another step forward for our team.”
LLOYD MEMORIAL: Walker 5 2 13, Israel 3 8 16, Davis 6 1 18, Monroe 3 3 10, Neale 2 0 6, Vogelpohl 4 4 12. Totals: 23 18 75.
HIGHLANDS: Kocher 3 1 7, Barth 4 2 10, Moeves 1 0 3, Harris 3 3 9, Herald 9 6 29, Vinson 2 0 4, DeSylva 1 0 2. Totals: 23 12 64.
Halftime, H 31-28. 3-pointers: L 11 (Davis 5, Israel 2, Neale 2, Walker, Monroe), H 6 (Herald 5, Moeves 1.
Covington Catholic basketball staves off a Cooper upset in 49-37 win
COVINGTON CATHOLIC 49, COOPER 37: The Colonels, ranked third in the Associated Press state poll, staved off an upset bid by the Jaguars, who finished the season 22-7.
CovCath, 26-4 overall, faces Lloyd in the first semifinal 6:30 p.m. Sunday at BB&T Arena. The teams did not play this season.
CovCath had won all nine of its previous games against Ninth Region foes this season by an average of 47 points, with the closest win by 20 points.
The quarterfinal game was a different story. CovCath and Cooper were tied at 36 after three quarters. Cooper began the fourth quarter deliberately passing the ball looking for a shot and trying to limit the total number of possessions.
Three minutes into the fourth period, CovCath junior guard Evan Ipsaro rebounded a missed 3-pointer and outran everyone on the floor from Cooper to the basket for a layup, and CovCath led 38-36.
With four minutes to go in the fourth, CovCath senior center Mitchell Rylee stole a pass in the CovCath backcourt and raced to the front-court in transition. He drew a foul and made both free throws to put CovCath up 40-36.
Cooper got one free throw after that from Caleb Brooks, but the Jaguars didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter. CovCath made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Rylee finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. He led the Colonels to a 12-rebound advantage on the boards, 32-20.
Ipsaro, who didn’t score until the third quarter, had 12 points and two assists. Brady Hussey had nine points, seven in the first quarter for CovCath. Chandler Starks posted seven points and seven rebounds.
CovCath shot 45.7 percent from the floor and limited Cooper to 35.9.
Brooks and Yamil Rondon led Cooper with 12 points apiece. Senior Blake Berry had five assists for the Jaguars.
COVCATH: Ipsaro 2 8 12, McGillis 0 3 3, Rylee 6 4 16, Johnson 1 0 2, Hussey 4 0 9, Starks 3 1 7. Totals: 16 16 49.
COOPER: Staten 1 0 2, Phillips 2 0 6, Rondon 4 3 12, Lutz 2 0 5, Brooks 5 1 12. Totals: 14 4 37.
Halftime, CC 22-19. 3-pointers: CC 1 (Hussey), CO 5 (Phillips 2, Rondon, Lutz, Brooks).