Newport Central Catholic used the bruising presence of Ben Weyer and a daunting midgame run to earn its first Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Boys’ Sweet Sixteen win, getting past Trinity 48-33 in the first round Wednesday in Rupp Arena.
Weyer had 19 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks to spearhead the Thoroughbreds, who used a 20-0 run spanning three quarters to take command against the 7th Region champion Shamrocks.
Newport Central Catholic will meet Murray in the quarterfinals at noon Friday.
Trinity was held scoreless in the second quarter. Before L.J. Harris connected on a jumper with 4:32 left in the third quarter, the Shamrocks had missed 20 straight shots after going up 11-2 on a pair of free throws at the 3:38 mark of the first quarter.
NewCath Coach Ron Dawn said his team worked on defense all week, but keeping Trinity off the board in the second quarter surprised him.
“We just wanted to make them take tougher shots and not let them get to the basket,” Dawn said. “And contain (Jacob) King. But I had no idea we would be able to do that to a team like that.
“Maybe they just had a bad shooting day, I don’t know. I like to think we had something to do with it though.”
King, a junior who led Trinity at 14.2 ppg coming into Wednesday, finished with seven points on 2-for-12 shooting. He was 1-for-4 from beyond the arc, where he averaged a 44.9-percent clip.
The Shamrocks were 12-for-46 for the game, well below their 47.1-percent shooting on the season.
Trinity Coach Mike Szabo could see the struggle from distance on the horizon during Tuesday’s practice. “It looked like our legs weren’t there,” Szabo said. “And today, it looked even worse to be honest with you.”
Weyer’s four blocks all came in the first half and had a detrimental effect on Trinity’s willingness to drive the ball inside. His presence loomed large the entire game — he didn’t pick up a single foul in 31 minutes before checking out with NewCath comfortably ahead in the final minutes.
“He really discouraged them from going in there,” Dawn said of the 6-foot-6 Bellarmine signee. “ ... I kept telling him, ‘They’re gonna really start taking it to us here so be looking for charges.’ But I think Ben discouraged them so much that they didn’t go in there.”
Sophomore Brennan Hall had 13 points, including a 3-for-6 mark from three-point range, for the Thoroughbreds. Luke Moeves scored 12 points, all in the final quarter, including seven during a stretch to help fend off Trinity as it made its final push.
The original Newport Catholic had five Sweet Sixteen wins before merging with Our Lady of Providence in 1983. This was the Thoroughbreds’ first appearance in the Sweet Sixteen since 2000, when they fell to Male in the first round.
David Burton, a junior, had nine points to lead Trinity.
Newport Central Catholic (29-4) vs. Murray (30-5)
When: Friday at noon