Newport Central Catholic trailed Highlands by two points at halftime of the 36th District title game Saturday. By the end of the third quarter, the host Thoroughbreds had turned that two-point deficit into a 19-point advantage.
NewCath defeated the Bluebirds 76-54 after outscoring them 27-6 in the third quarter to win the district title on its home court.
Senior guard Jeramie Connor made five three-pointers and tied a game-high with 19 points. The Thoroughbreds made 10 three-pointers as a team.
Junior guard Stephen Kowolonek led the Bluebirds with 19 points.
Highlands also lost to the Thoroughbreds in their only previous meeting this season, a 63-57 NewCath win back on Dec. 19. Even with that loss, the Bluebirds were still the highest-rated team in the district going into Saturday's game.
Both teams will move on to the 9th Region Tournament, which will start Wednesday at Northern Kentucky University's Bank of Kentucky Center. The results of the 9th Region draw will be available in Monday's paper.
McCreary Central 59, Wayne County 48 (48th): Junior guard Aaron Watts scored 20 points and junior forward Zak Roark chipped in with 16 points to lead the Raiders to a win in the district championship at Monticello.
McCreary Central started the game on a 13-0 run, led 15-5 at the end of the first quarter, and never trailed in the contest.
No. 7 Warren Central 60, Bowling Green 53 (14th): Sophomore forward George Fant scored 24 points with eight rebounds and the Dragons dominated the first half before going on to put away Bowling Green and win the district championship at Greenwood.
Warren Central, the heavy favorite to win the 4th Region this week, allowed only three points in the first quarter and led 22-12 at halftime.
No. 4 Jeffersontown 69, No. 3 Eastern 65 (28th): The visiting Chargers, who were responsible for Eastern's only loss this season, handed the Eagles defeat No. 2 to win a battle of top-5 teams for the district title.
Jeffersontown handed Eastern its only other loss when the Chargers won 80-65 on their home court on Jan. 9. This one was closer, but the Eagles couldn't pull it out and fell to 27-2 on the year.
The two teams will now turn to the 7th Region Tournament, which will also include No. 8 Ballard and No. 24 Moore.