Friday, March 09, 2001

N.Ky. boys regional preview

Bishop Brossart's been here before

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer contributor

        Coach Willie Schlarman thinks a lot about last season's 10th Region boys basketball semifinals. He can't help it.

        Schlarman and his Bishop Brossart Mustangs are in today's 10th Region semifinals at 8 p.m. at Mason County for the second straight season. And for the second straight time, Mason County (23-6) is the opponent.

        Brossart (16-14) is the defending champion thanks to last season's 52-50 last-second win over the Royals in the finals on Justin Seiter's jumper.

        And Schlarman sees this season's similarities.

        “Put it this way,” Schlarman said. “We were on the same bench (in Tuesday's 72-62 first-round win over Paris), we're wearing the same (green) uniform, sitting on the same bench. Those thoughts from last year go through your mind a little bit.”

        There is one other thing that's the same: Brossart entered the postseason on a losing streak before heating up.

        In 1999-2000, the Mustangs were 1-5 over the last six regular-season games. They were 2-6 over the last eight this season, but Schlarman said the figures fib.

        “We were getting better over the month of February,” Schlarman said. “After the (10th Region) All “A” (which Brossart won), we got some much needed rest; we were a tired team. In the last couple weeks we've practiced harder, and the results are better.”

        Schlarman has experimented with lineups.

        Freshman center Derrick Rhoden scored 14 in last Saturday's 49-45 loss to Campbell County in the 38th District finals and 13 points in Tuesday's 72-62 victory over Paris. Junior guard Mike Eten had 13 against Campbell County and 16 against Paris.

        “(Rhoden's) blocked some shots, he's given us some rebounds, five rebounds (a game) the last three games,” Schlarman said. (Eten's) a great slasher taking the ball to the basket. He's a bigger guard.”

        Like Brossart, Campbell County (20-7) has reached the 10th Region semifinals for the second straight season. The Camels play Montgomery County (20-8) at 6:30 p.m. today.

        Campbell County and Montgomery County split their two previous meetings. The Indians won, 64-52, on Jan.4 in a tournament at Mason County, and the Camels grabbed a 53-42 victory Feb.2 in Mount Sterling.

        The way Campbell County coach Dan Sullivan sees it, the Camels have to contain Montgomery County's Chris Mullins, while Montgomery County has to deal with the Camels' Kevin Reinhardt, who averages 19.8 points a game.

        “Chris Mullins is about 6-foot-6 and about 225-pounds,” Sullivan said. “They don't have a starter smaller than 6-2, and we have one starter (the 6-4 Reinhardt) taller than 6-2. We've got to design something not around strength; we lose that game.”

        NINTH REGION: In tonight's Ninth Region semifinals at Holmes, defending champion Newport Central Catholic (26-6) meets Conner (22-5) at 5:30 p.m. in a repeat of last season's semifinals, and Highlands (20-8) takes on Simon Kenton (22-8) at 8:30 p.m.

        NewCath nearly lost to Conner last season, pulling out a 53-52 victory when Conner's Marcus Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 bonus with 1.1 seconds to go. On Feb.9, NewCath had a 38-20 lead when the game was called 90 seconds into the third quarter because of excessive moisture.

        Many Conner fans wondered why the game ended in the third quarter, when it was NewCath's turn to play on the wetter end closest to the gym entrance. NewCath coach Ron Dawn said he had nothing to do with it.

        “It was up to the referees,” Dawn said. “It got worse as the night went on ... We played on defense, too.”

        One thing is certain: Conner will have to do a better job of guarding NewCath senior guard Ronny Dawn. He scored 19 points in the February game. But Ronny Dawn isn't exactly expecting a repeat tonight.

        “They have a bunch of well-rounded players,” Dawn said.

        Simon Kenton handed Highlands a 57-54 loss on Feb.6. Highlands has a slight edge in size - the Bluebirds bring 6-4 senior forward Gino Guidugli and 6-7 sophomore center Ross Neltner against Simon Kenton's 6-7 sophomore Mike Brock. But the Pioneers counter with 6-0 senior guard Jordan Stowers.

        “Brock really had a big game last time,” Highlands coach John Messmer said. “I'm concerned about their uptempo game.”

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