GAME 2: TRINITY VS. NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC, 1:30 P.M. WEDNESDAY
Coach: Mike Szabo.
Litkenhous Rating: 98.3 (No. 5 in state).
Sweet 16 trips: Fourth (7-2).
Last trip to State: 2014 (lost to Scott County 62-56 in semifinals).
What to look for: Szabo calls this the best shooting team he’s ever coached, and the numbers are impressive as the Shamrocks hit 41.3 percent from 3-point range and 78.5 percent from the free-throw line. Jacob King (44.9 percent) and Gabe Schmitt (40.4 percent) are the top 3-point shooters, but the Shamrocks suffered a key blow when Lukas Burkman (44 percent) suffered a season-ending foot injury in February. That allowed talented freshman David Johnson to move into the starting lineup, and he has delivered some big games. Szabo said his top two reserves – Brendan King (foot injury) and Christian Terry (flu) – are questionable for Wednesday’s game, meaning depth could be an issue.
Key player: The only senior in the starting lineup, Schmitt is a level-headed leader who recently committed to Transylvania University. “He’s been so consistent,” Szabo said. “No. 1, he’s been consistent with his attitude his whole career here. Now, as a senior, he has been our most consistent player from a production standpoint, really at both ends of the floor.”
Coach-speak: “They really shoot the ball well,” Szabo said of first-round opponent Newport Central Catholic. “We have a lot of similarities.”
1-Jacob King, 5-9, Jr., 14.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg
20-Gabe Schmitt, 6-1, Sr., 13.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg
10-David Burton, 6-2, Jr., 6.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg
13-David Johnson, 6-3, Fr., 4.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg
23-L.J. Harris, 6-2, Jr., 8.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg
30-Brendan King, 5-10, Jr., 3.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg
33-Christian Terry, 6-6, Sr., 3.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
31-Damon McClain, 5-10, Jr., 1.7 ppg, 0.4 rpg
NEWPORT CENTRAL CATHOLIC
Coach: Ron Dawn.
Litkenhous Rating: 94.2 (No. 9 in state).
Sweet 16 trips: Eighth (5-8).
Last trip to State: 2000 (lost to Male 61-41 in first round).
What to look for: Much like Trinity, Newport Central Catholic likes to shoot the 3, averaging nearly 21 attempts per game and hitting 40.6 percent. The Thoroughbreds won three straight All “A” Classic state titles from 2013-15 but never could get out of the Ninth Region Tournament, falling to Holmes twice and Covington Catholic once. They got over the hump this year with a 52-47 victory over then-No. 1 Covington Catholic in the Ninth Region final.
Key player: Bellarmine University signee Ben Weyer (21.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 3.2 bpg) does it all for the Thoroughbreds. The 6-foot-6 can be a bruiser in the paint and also is capable of shooting the 3 (52 of 114, 45.6 percent). He had 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks in the victory over Covington Catholic in the Ninth Region final. “He’s gotten a lot better at putting the ball on the floor and going by people,” Dawn said. “And inside, he’s gotten stronger.”
Coach-speak: “We’re really excited about going because it’s been a while,” Dawn said. “We felt like the previous two years we let a great opportunity get away, but Covington Catholic has been really good and Holmes has been really good up here, too. … We know it’s going to be really tough against Trinity, but the kids are looking forward to it.”
4-Brennan Hall, 5-11, So., 11.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg
11-Brian Anderson, 6-2, Sr., 5.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg
13-Luke Moeves, 6-2, Jr., 11.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg
15-Eric Anderson, 6-2, Sr., 6.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg
44-Ben Weyer, 6-6, Sr., 21.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg
21-John Ludwig, 5-10, Sr., 4.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg
24-Austin Neff, 6-2, Jr., 2.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg
10-Stephen Pangallo, 5-8, So., 1.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg