Wednesday, January 26, 2000

Brossart, NewCath go all-out for All 'A' titles

Enquirer contributor

        If this is pressure, Ray Kues could get used to it.

        The Bishop Brossart girls basketball team Kues coaches begins defense of its All “A” Classic state title today, when the small-school showcase begins at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond.

        Kues isn't sure whether it's easier to win the crown or defend it, but he thinks his team won't mind wearing the bull's-eye.

        “We don't feel the pressure to win the thing,” Kues said. “We just want to get to the finals.”

        Brossart (13-6), the top team in The Enquirer's Northern Kentucky coaches poll, meets Sixth Region champ Louisville Holy Cross at 6:30 tonight.

        Kues and the 10th Region champion Lady 'Stangs continue to rely on junior guards Katie Schwegmann and Carrie Clift and senior center Emily Phillips for offense. Schwegmann's 22.5-point scoring average is sixth-best in the state; Clift is next on the team at 10.9 pgg, and Phillips averages 10.1 points and 11 rebounds.

        Northern Kentucky's other two representatives, Ninth Region champion Newport and Eighth Region winner Walton-Verona, think they can foil Brossart's plans.

        Newport (14-5) plays Third Region champ Hancock County at noon today and could meet Brossart in the finals.

        Walton-Verona (14-2) plays 16th Region winner Bath County at 9:30 tonight and could face the Lady 'Stangs in the semis.

        Newport coach Aric Russell calls defense his team's key. The Wildcats have allowed only 46 points a game.

        Senior guard Molly White (10.4 points per game) and junior forward Ashley Mills (11.8) lead the Newport offense. Mills is back from a sprained right ankle she suffered last week.

        “I'm going to let the girls relax,” Russell said. “If they relax, they'll be fine. I don't want them to be nervous.”

        Walton-Verona feels confident for two major reasons: Junior forward Jessica Schmidt averages 18 points and a state-best 15.2 rebounds, and senior guard Caitlyn Ryan (16 points, 10 rebounds) ranks second in the state in field-goal percentage at .643.

        “Jessica's going to be as strong or stronger than anybody she plays,” coach Tom Luebbe said. “I don't think we need to change a lot offensively.”

        The boys tournament begins Thursday, with Ninth Region champ Newport Central Catholic the favorite in both the Litkenhous and Cantrall computer ratings. NewCath meets Fourth Region champion Todd County Central at 6:30p.m. Thursday.

        Don't expect NewCath to change its perimeter offense. The Thoroughbreds hit 12 3-pointers in Saturday's 77-55 win over Newport, and their .468 shooting from long range is best in the state.

        Junior guard Ronny Dawn's 20.5-point scoring average includes 3.7 3's a game, and junior forward Seth Lynn (12.5 points) averages 3.2.

        “That's pretty much been our game,” coach Ron Dawn said. “We're going to look for it.”


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