NewCath’s Ben Weyer slams home a basket in front of Holmes’ Jaiden Greene during the Thoroughbreds’ win over Holmes at NKU’s Bank of Kentucky Center
The last time NewCath played at the Bank of Kentucky Center, the Thoroughbreds lost their No. 1 ranking in the Enquirer Northern Kentucky coaches’ poll and turned in their worst performance of the season – a 58-48 loss to their nemesis Covington Catholic.
Friday night, the Thoroughbreds rinsed that bad taste out of their mouths as they took down No. 3 Holmes, 58-52.
Junior forward Ben Weyer led the way with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, while senior point guard Zack Pangallo added 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and passed the ball masterfully to finish with 7 assists.
“As a team, we just wanted to forget about that CovCath game,” Weyer said. “We didn’t play bad tonight, but we still didn’t play our best. So if we can play like we did tonight and still get a win, it just gives me more confidence about what we can do when we put a full game together. It’s always fun to play at NKU with a lot of people there, and I love the court.”
The Bulldogs didn’t go down quietly. They forced NewCath into 17 turnovers, often by doubling the post, and trailed by just five entering the fourth quarter.
“It was a lot better than the last time we were here,” NewCath coach Ron Dawn said. “Still, I don’t think we played our best. Our two big guys had 11 of our 17 turnovers, and that just can’t happen. Some of them were just careless. We have to be stronger with the ball.”
NewCath started the game looking like it was going to run away with a win from the opening tip. The ‘Breds raced out to a 12-4 lead, forcing Holmes coach Mike Listerman to call a timeout with 5:10 left in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, Holmes junior Brennon Englemon scooped up a loose ball, took a dribble and nailed a pull-up, buzzer-beating jumper for his only points of the game to trim the ‘Breds’ lead to 21-16 after one.
The momentum stayed in white and red over the opening minute of the second quarter as the Bulldogs went on a quick 5-0 run, tying the game up at 21 on Markel McClendon’s layup and forcing a NewCath timeout.
After trailing 29-27 at half, the Bulldogs kept it close throughout a slow-paced third quarter, finding answers every time the ‘Breds scored. NewCath extended its lead to 40-35 by the end of the third quarter, and pushed it to double-digits with just under two minutes left in the game. Weyer hit junior Erik Anderson on a beautiful backdoor pass for a layup to finally pull away for good.
“You have to have those guys that can make some plays for you,” Dawn said. “You run your sets and stuff, but by the end of the year everyone has scouted so much that you have to have players that can just make plays. Ben (Weyer) and Zack (Pangallo) did that tonight.”
In the third quarter, senior center and NKU commit Drew McDonald broke the school record for rebounds, surpassing Rick Batsche’s 44-year old record of 939 boards. McDonald finished with nine points and nine rebounds on the night to put his career tally at 943.
“It’s just an honor to make my mark on school history,” McDonald said. “There’s been a bunch of great players to come through this school – Jake Giesler is playing at NKU right now, Dave Cowens was named one of the best 50 players in NBA history. Until someone takes it away, it’s mine. That record has been there for 44 years for a reason, and to break it is just special.”
“It’s a heck of an accomplishment,” Dawn added. “Everyone raves about 1,000 points, but to get 1,000 rebounds, there’s a lot of effort involved in that. To get that many rebounds in a career is unbelievable, and he passed some pretty good guys.”
NewCath has now won 14 straight games since its loss to CovCath on January 16, including an All ‘A’ state championship.
NewCath (25-3) – Weyer 8 1 18, Pangallo 6 2 16, McDonald 4 1 9, Moeves 3 2 9, E Anderson 2 2 6. Totals 23 8 58.
Holmes (20-7) – Bolden 7 5 20, Mullins 5 0 10, McClendon 5 0 10, Arnold 4 0 8, Greene 1 0 2, Englemon 1 0 2. Totals 23 5 52.
Halftime: NewCath 29 Holmes 27. 3-Pointers: NewCath 4 (Pangallo 2, Weyer, Moeves). Holmes 1 (Bolden).