High School Basketball

It's Newport Catholic and Walton-Verona in girls' All 'A' finals

Newport Catholic's Nicole Kiernan blocked a shot by Bishop Brossart's Sarah Futscher. Kiernan had 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Newport Catholic's Nicole Kiernan blocked a shot by Bishop Brossart's Sarah Futscher. Kiernan had 18 points and 14 rebounds.

FRANKFORT — Eight days can put a completely different spin on basketball.

Bishop Brossart beat Newport Central Catholic 48-45 in overtime on Jan. 20, but a rematch in the semifinals of the girls' Touchstone Energy All "A" Classic was a whole 'nother ball game.

NewCath blasted Brossart 63-41 on Saturday to reach the finals of the small-school shootout. The Thoroughbreds will play Walton-Verona in Sunday afternoon's title game in the Frankfort Convention Center.

Walton-Verona, which routed tournament favorite Monroe County on Friday, beat defending champion Owensboro Catholic 60-44 on Saturday.

NewCath learned a few lessons in its loss to Brossart. The most important one was that it had to handle the Lady Stangs' pressure defense.

Breds Coach Ron Dawn started a third guard — freshman Michaela Ware — to give them another ball handler. The move paid off as NewCath had little trouble getting into its offense and finding good shots.

Nicole Kiernan, a 5-foot-10 sophomore, did her thing inside. She had 18 points and 14 rebounds — her third double-double in three days — and the Breds breezed to victory.

Senior guard Olivia Huber was productive, too, with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Huber said the loss to Bros sart "really motivated us ... we were really upset. But we knew this is the one that really counted."

Dawn, who led NewCath's boys to an All "A" title in 2000 and the girls to the top in 2010, said he was a little surprised at his team's offensive output in the rematch:

"We thought we could go by them and create things. Sometimes we have trouble scoring, but we got great shots today."

Brossart, which had a 10-game winning streak snapped, was led by Sarah Futscher's 11 points and five rebounds.

Coach Josh Feldman said his team hoped to learn from the loss to its Northern Kentucky rival, and he wants to develop the same "culture of winning" as NewCath.

Walton-Verona 60, Owensboro Catholic 44: Coach Mark Clinkenbeard was concerned his girls might have a letdown after their rousing win over Monroe County.

He need not have worried.

Walton-Verona played focused, unselfish basketball again in beating the Aces.

Michele Judy's 18 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots led the Bearcats to their ninth win in a row.

Katie Slavey's 13 points off the bench was an example of the Bearcats' depth.

Clinkenbeard said his players know their time to shine will come in Walton-Verona's balanced attack: "Everybody understands this might not be their night, but their night's coming. Just share the ball."

Judy said "it's kind of a chemistry thing we have.

"When we see a mismatch, we usually exploit it."

Walton-Verona, which lost to Danville in the first round of last year's All "A," is determined to make the most of this opportunity in the finals.

"We've gotta come out and kick butt," Judy said.

Owensboro Catholic was a surprise in reaching the semifinals. The Aces are without star Becca Greenwell (last year's All "A" MVP), who is sitting out her junior year recovering from knee surgery.

But Coach Ray Zuberer's team still made it back to the final four.

Mary Kate Clemens had 12 points against Walton-Verona. Destiny Howard added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader