January 17th, 2012

Cougars Kick Off All "A" With 72-61 Win

Brad Knoop

Staff Writer

Cougars Kick Off All "A" With 72-61 Win
photo from allaclassic.org

Holy Cross boys advance with quarterfinal victory over Western

Senior retreat, the boys high school Louisville Invitational Tournament and some game-canceling bad weather kept the Holy Cross High School boys basketball team off the court for two weeks.

Chomping at the bit to play its first game since Jan. 3, the Cougars busted out of the gate to stun Shawnee in the Kentucky Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic Sixth Region Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Holy Cross scored the first nine points of the game, setting the tone from the opening tip when senior Dylan Bickel muscled his way around inside to grab a rebound and score the game’s first basket.

Sophomore Dominique Mack scored the next basket as he elevated above the defenders, timing a bouncing ball from the backboard perfectly, grabbing it with his right hand and putting it in the basket.

The Cougars really used pressure on defense to get points. Senior Cody Couch picked a Golden Eagle pocket, passed to senior Jake Kaelin, who returned the favor to Couch for the layup for a 4-0 lead.

The unselfishness continued when Mack gathered the ball on a fast break, tapped a pass to sophomore Norman Ellis who scored. The Cougars led 17-10 after the first quarter.

A 13-2 run in the second quarter put the Cougars in command. That stretch started with a lay up by senior Blake Keith. He scored eight points. Mack and senior Chad Conway connected on two straight baskets, the first in transition and the second a sweet dish down low. Conway scored all eight of his points in the first half.

Sophomore Aaron Stahl helped Holy Cross build its lead to 14 with a couple baskets and free throws. The score was 41-30 at the half.

The Cougars opened the lead more in the third quarter. Couch drained back to back three- pointers, the second one rattling in as the lead grew to 14 points. Couch scored 10 in the game.

Mack scored three straight times, twice on steals and a third time on a nice pass from senior Justin McGohon. The advantage was 18 points after the third quarter.

With six minutes to go, the Cougars continued the transition game. Keith raced down the right side, then crossed over and used his left hand for a basket and foul. Holy Cross led 62-45.

With a minute to go, senior Jake Kaelin played take-away, hit Mack on the break and it was cruise control after that. Mack finished with 23 points to lead all scorers, and the Cougars (5-12) advance to the semi-finals with a 72-61 win against Shawnee (2-14).

“We got pressure on them, used our athleticism and kept the game going up and down,” Holy Cross coach Mike Durham said. “Dominique played well. Blake Keith gives us some athleticism and we’ve got Chad Conway with us now.”

The Cougars see this as a fresh start and get a tough test in Thursday’s semi-final game against one of the surprise high school teams of the season, Beth Haven. The Bearcats are 13-3.

“They made the LIT, and shoot the ball well,” Durham said of Western. “We will try to play up and down again and give them a shot.”

The Boys’ Sixth Region All "A" Classic semifinals are Thursday at Holy Cross. DeSales plays Portland Christian at 5:30pm. Holy Cross plays Beth Haven at 7:30pm. The winners of those games will meet on Friday for the All "A" Sixth Region title and berth into the state tournament.

Follow LouisvilleCatholicSports.com all week for complete coverage of the boys and girls Sixth Region tournaments.


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