, Corbin, KY

Local Sports

March 24, 2014

OT Thriller

Covington Catholic fights back against Scott County to win state championship

CORBIN — By Les Dixon /

Staff Writer

LEXINGTON  — It just wasn’t in the cards.

11th Region champion Scott County was hoping to capture its first state championship since 2007, but ran into a never-say-die Covington Catholic team that fought back from 12 points down, winning, 59-51, in overtime.

Nick Ruthsatz put the Colonels on his back, scoring 25 points, including eight in overtime to lead his team to the state crown, earning him game MVP honors.

Covington Catholic hit 17-of-43 from the floor, but connected on 19-of-27 shot attempts from the free-throw line.

It didn’t take Covington Catholic long to take an early lead.

Consecutive three-pointers by Ben Heppler and Nick Ruthsatz gave the Colonels a 7-1 advantage.

But Scott County came storming back, putting together a 16-2 run to close the quarter.

Baskets by Tony Martini and three straight three-pointers by Jones gave the Cardinals a 14-9 lead. Trent Gilbert followed with a three-pointer of his own, as Scott County took a 17-9 lead into the second quarter.

Covington Catholic’s scoreless streak reached close to 10 minutes in the first half, and the Cardinals took advantage. Billy Hick’s squad capped off a 22-4 run and built a commanding 23-13 advantage, as Jones added six more points during the period, and led the way with 15 points on six-of-11 shooting during the game’s first 16 minutes.

The Colonels managed to cut their deficit to 27-18 at halftime, but struggled shooting the ball, misfiring on six-of-22 shot attempts, including a two-of-seven from three-point range. They only hit four-of-eight attempts from the free-throw line and were out rebounded, 21-13.

Scott County connected on 10-of-26 shot attempts during the first half, including a four-of-11 effort from beyond the arc. The Cardinals turned the ball over 10 times and forced Covington Catholic into six miscues.

Scott County came out in the third quarter and struggled to find the basket. The Cardinals missed all eight three-point attempts during the period, and misfired on 10 of its first 11 shot attempts, allowing the Colonels to chip away at the Cardinals’ lead.

After falling behind 30-21, Covington Catholic went on a 6-0 run that saw Heppler’s three-pointer combined with a lay-up by Mark Schult to make the score, 30-27.

But just when it looked as if the Colonels were storming back, Hicks decided to switch things up on offense, and Martini took over, scoring six of Scott county’s nine points during the period. He scored four of the Cardinals’ six points to close out the period, extending his team’s lead to 36-28 with eight minutes remaining in regulation.  

Scott County only shot four-of-15 from the floor during the period, but still managed to hold on to an eight-point lead.

The Cardinals continued to struggle shooting the ball in the fourth quarter, allowing the Colonels to get back into the ball game.

Three-pointers by Austin Sweeney and Ruthsatz allowed Covington Catholic to pull to within three points (44-41) while six straight made free throws by Ruthsatz tied the game at 44 apiece with :50 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Both teams and a chance to win during the period’s final seconds, but neither could convert on contested shots.

97th Annual Whitaker Bank/KHSAA

Boys’ Sweet Sixteen Championship

at Rupp Arena

Covington Catholic 59, Scott County 51 OT

Covington Catholic    9    9  10  19  12  59

Scott County            17  10    9  11    4  51

Covington Catholic (59) — Schuh 3, Schult 12, VonHandorf 9, Rithsatz 25, Heppler 8, Keller 2.

Scott County (57) — Long 4, Martini 16, Gilbert 10, Murray 1, Kendred 2, Jones 18.

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