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Prep Sports Notebook: CovCath sweeps No. 1 votes in N.Ky. boys basketball coaches preseason poll

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Covington Catholic will enter the 2021-22 boys high school basketball season as the top-ranked team in the Northern Kentucky coaches poll.

At their preseason meeting last week, every local coach listed CovCath as the No. 1 team on their ballot. Defending state champion Highlands was voted No. 2, followed by Dixie Heights, Conner and Campbell County.

Senior center Mitchell Rylee is one of three returning starters for top-ranked CovCath. (Photo by Dale Dawn)

CovCath has the top three scorers returning from last season’s 24-4 team that lost to St. Henry in the first round of the 9th Region tournament. Those three players – Mitchell Rylee, Evan Ipsaro and Chandler Starks – were all voted among the top 10 players in the local coaches poll.

Last season, Highlands won its first state basketball championship with seniors Sam Vinson and Luke Muller leading the way. They both graduated, but the Bluebirds do have a pair of proven scorers returning in Will Herald and Zach Barth, who were also voted among the area’s top 10 players.

The No. 1 returning player selected by the coaches is Holy Cross junior guard Jacob Meyer. Last season, he led the 9th Region in scoring with a 25.2 average that ranked 13th in the state.

Rylee placed second in the coaches voting. The 6-foot-8 senior, who averaged 15.9 points and 8.2 rebounds last season, made a commitment with Miami University of Ohio this summer.

The next three players in the coaches voting were Ipsaro, Ayden Hamilton of Campbell County and Tez Calloway of Holmes, who is repeating his senior year due to the pandemic.

Last season, Calloway was among the top scorers in the 9th Region with a 21.4 average. Ipsaro averaged 15.8 points and Hamilton, who recently accepted a baseball scholarship offer from the University of Kentucky, averaged 16.1 points on Campbell County’s 10th Region runner-up team.

Kentucky high school basketball teams can begin pre-season practice on Oct. 15. The first day of the regular season is Nov. 29.


TEAMS – 1–Covington Catholic, 2–Highlands, 3–Dixie Heights, 4–Conner, 5–Campbell County, 6–Beechwood, 7–Holy Cross, 8–Cooper, 9–Lloyd, 10–Scott.

PLAYERS – 1–Jacob Meyer (Holy Cross), 2–Mitchell Rylee (CovCath), 3–Evan Ipsaro (CovCath), 4–Aydan Hamilton (Campbell County), 5–Tez Calloway (Holmes), 6–Chandler Starks (CovCath), 7–Kiernan Geraci (Dixie Heights), 8–Will Herald (Highlands), 9–Billy Wogenstahl (Dixie Heights), 10–Zach Barth (Highlands) and Landen Hamilton (Conner).

Walton-Verona will face state’s top scorer in girls soccer tournament

The Walton-Verona girls soccer team will be facing the state’s leading scorer in the opening round of the Kentucky  All “A” Classic small-school state tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday in Frankfort.

The Bearcats’ opponent will be the undefeated Prestonsburg Blackcats, who have scored 100 goals in 14 matches with junior Anna Burchett putting 64 balls into the net. She also has 23 assists to give her 151 total points going into  Saturday’s match.

Two years ago, Burchett set a state record for most goals in a season with 88. She now has a career total of 189 that’s tied for seventh place on the state’s list of all-time leading scorers. Her older sister, Elizabeth, graduated in 2019 with 191 total goals that ranks fifth.

Brossart is sending two teams to this weekend’s All “A” Classic state tournament. The girls team will play Bardstown Bethlehem at 11 a.m. and the boys team will play Prestonsburg at 1 p.m. in first-round matches on Saturday at Capital View Park.

Semifinal matches in both the boys and girls state tournaments will be played on Saturday night with the championship finals on Sunday. The complete brackets are on the allaclassic.org website.

Cooper golfers are returning champions in Region 7 tournaments

Cooper golfers Rylan Wotherspoon and Reagan Ramage are the returning champions in the boys and girls Region 7 tournaments scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at Lassing Pointe.

On Monday, Ramage will defend the girls medalist title she won last year as an eighth-grader. She also led her Cooper team to its first region championship and everybody in that winning lineup returned this season.

Wotherspoon will be going for his third consecutive boys region medalist title on Tuesday. Last year, he nearly became the first Northern Kentucky golfer to win the boys state tournament since 1982, but he lost in a playoff for the title.

Wotherspoon still finished on top in the statewide point standings to win the 2020 Mr. Kentucky Golf title. He was No. 1 in the point standings once again going into the final two weeks of the 2021 regular season.

St. Henry won the Region 7 boys team title last year and Highlands is defending champion in the Region 8 boys tournament to be played Tuesday at Henry County Country Club.


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