It didn’t leave without a fight, but Covington Catholic left Lexington with a victory on Wednesday night.
The Colonels, ranked third overall in the Herald-Leader’s preseason poll of boys’ basketball coaches, defeated No. 11 Lexington Catholic, 54-53. Knights senior Max Sparkman missed a three-point try that ricocheted off the side of the rim as the buzzer sounded.
Aiden Ruthsatz, a CovCath senior, was 8-for-8 from the free-throw and finished with 27 points. He was 4-for-4 from the stripe in the final two minutes, twice answering after Lexington Catholic took late leads. Ruthsatz will play at Christian Brothers, an NCAA Division II school in Memphis, Tenn., next season.
Because Covington Catholic’s football team is still playing, the basketball Colonels were without a few players, including A.J. Mayer, the Colonels quarterback who was the basketball team’s leading returning scorer from last season. CJ Fredrick, an Iowa signee, had 11 points and six assists for CovCath while Jake Walter, a center who’s signed with Xavier, had four points and six rebounds.
It was the season-opener for CovCath. Lexington Catholic opened the year with a 68-50 victory at Wolfe County on Monday.
“We have some guys that are starting now that will be in reserve roles in two weeks when we start getting some of our guys from football back,” CovCath Coach Scott Ruthsatz said. “I’m just proud of the way they handled themselves. For a lot of these guys, it’s their first real varsity experience in a hostile environment.”
Zan Payne, a senior at Lexington Catholic, had 28 points and nine rebounds to lead the Knights. He went 13 of 13 at the free-throw line.
Covington Catholic 54, Lexington Catholic 53
Covington Catholic (1-0): Nick Thelen 5, Jake Walter 4, CJ Fredrick 11, Aiden Ruthsatz 27, Tyler Fleek 7.
Lexington Catholic (1-1): Keegan Bailey 3, Ben Johnson 6, Javen Hardin 4, TC Price 8, Zan Payne 28, Max Sparkman 2, Brice Scott 2.