Newport Central Catholic isn't coy about its intentions to become the first school to win three consecutive Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic boys' basketball titles.
"We've been talking about it all along. It's been one of our goals all year," Coach Ron Dawn said. "Nobody's done it, and we want to go after it."
NewCath is favored to three-peat. The Thoroughbreds (16-3) are rated No. 4 in the state by Dave Cantrall. Its losses were to No. 1 Ballard, No. 8 Covington Catholic and No. 22 Doss.
No other team in the All "A" is in the top 25.
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NewCath has experience on its side, with All "A" veterans Zack Pangallo, Drew McDonald and Ben Weyer.
"Those three guys have all played a bunch the last two years, so hopefully that will be a factor for us," Dawn said.
Pangallo, a senior point guard, was MVP of last year's tournament.
"He's a real key for us," Dawn said. "He's scoring a little more this year (11 points per game), but his main thing is he gets us into our stuff and comes with energy every day."
McDonald, a 6-foot-7 senior, is strong on the blocks. He's averaging 18 points and 10 rebounds. Weyer, a 6-6 junior, can play inside or out. He's averaging 16 points and seven rebounds.
Grant Moeves, who came off the bench last year, is starting and scoring more.
NewCath has dominated the All "A" the past two years, Only one of its eight victories was close — a 49-44 win over Knott County Central in the 2013 semifinals.
Dawn doesn't expect it to be easy this year,
"I know Lexington Christian is good, and I know Monroe County is good," he said. "And Williamsburg is undefeated."
LCA, which lost to NewCath 78-49 in last year's semifinals, is led by Matt Rose. The 6-7 senior is averaging 23 points and eight rebounds.
The Eagles are in the All "A" for the 11th time in 12 years, but it's a new experience for first-year coach Nate Valentine. "I really don't know what to expect," he said. "But I've had a lot of coaches tell me it's a fun week. I'm excited."
Monroe County is led by 6-3 senior Dillon Geralds, who's averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds.
Williamsburg (17-0), is the last unbeaten boys' or girls' team in the state.
University Heights, an eight-time champion, is in the tournament for small schools for the 20th time.
Augusta is in it for the first time.