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Basketball Stuns Holy Cross in Triple Overtime District Thriller!
Posted 02/23/2012 07:30AM
Written by
Richard Skinner
Enquirer contributor

A difficult schedule and past failures in overtime games prepared Covington Catholic for the moments it faced on Wednesday night.

The Colonels, who were 0-3 in overtime games in the regular season, outscored Holy Cross 15-8 in the third overtime to pull out an 81-74 victory in a 35th District semifinal at Northern Kentucky’s Regents Hall.

Covington Catholic (17-12), which entered the tournament as the No. 3-rated team in the Ninth Region, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal’s Litkenhous Ratings, will play Holmes in Friday’s 8 p.m. championship game. Holmes (22-6), which is the No. 4-rated team in the region, advanced with a 70-57 win over Beechwood.

“We hadn’t won an overtime game this season, but there was just that sense that you can’t lose this one; you just can’t go out like this,” said Covington Catholic coach Scott Ruthsatz.

“Never once was that mentioned, but I think our kids all kind of knew that we just have to bear down and get it done. Our schedule, it’s all the difference in the world. We have 12 losses, and I said, ‘Big deal, look at some of the teams we’ve played.’ We were competitive in pretty much all of them.”

Covington Catholic got key performances from almost all eight players who participated in the game, but got surprising scoring contributions from junior forward Sawyer Pauly, senior guard Clint Massie and sophomore reserve forward Ben Heppler. The trio entered the game averaging just 11.9 points per game, but combined to score 42 points.

Massie, who finished with 14 points, made a layup with 1:50 left in the third overtime to put Covington Catholic on top 70-67, and Pauly, who tallied 20, followed with a layup 30 seconds later to make it 72-67.

Sophomore guard Nick Ruthsatz made four straight free throws and 6-foot-2 senior forward Connor Cleves held Holy Cross 6-8 junior Antonio Campbell without a field goal in the fourth quarter after starting center Zack Tobler fouled out, and added two breakaway layups to seal it.

Neither team took more than a seven-point in regulation and neither team had more than a three-point lead in the fourth quarter.

Holy Cross (28-3), which was rated No. 2 in the region according to the Litkenhous Ratings, went 2 of 5 at the foul line in the third overtime and was just 5 of 12 there in the three overtimes combined.

“We made a lot of mistakes late in the game and it wasn’t just free throws,” said Holy Cross coach Erik Goetz. “Fatigue got to us a couple of times late in the game especially on the defensive end and they took advantage of it and you have to give them credit.”

Holmes had to rally from a 29-27 halftime deficit. Senior forward Dontel Rice tallied 11 of his 23 points in the second half and junior guard B.J. Coston had 10 of his 15.

COVCATH 14-20-10-15-4-3-15 – 81
H. CROSS 17-16-10-16-4-3-8 – 74

COVCATH (17-1): Fredrick 4 0 12, Massie 6 1 14, Pauly 8 3 20, Cleves 2 0 4, Ruthsatz 4 9 17, Heppler 3 1 8, Tobler 2 2 6. Totals: 29 16 81.

HOLY CROSS (28-3): Thompson 4 0 12, Burger 10 10 31, Fortner 0 2 2, M. McClendon 0 1 1, C. McClendon 5 2 14, Campbell 6 1 14. Totals: 25 16 74.

3-pointers: CC–Fredrick 4, Massie, Pauly, Heppler. HC–Thompson 4, C. McClendon 2, Burger, Campbell.

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