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High School Hoops: Conner boys, Cooper girls win 33rd District seeding games by double-digit margins

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

The Conner boys basketball team lost its first two games this season without senior guard Landen Hamilton in the lineup due to an injury. He was the Cougars’ top returning scorer and voted one of the top 10 players in Northern Kentucky by local coaches.

On Friday, Conner played a home game against a Cooper team that was in a similar situation and the Cougars came away with a 55-42 victory.

Conner senior guard Daniel Campbell drives to the basket against Drew Schilling of Cooper. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

Cooper senior Caleb Brooks, a 6-foot-9 center who was also voted among the area’s top 10 players, watched the game from the bench with a brace on his right leg and his team clearly missed his presence in the paint.

The Jaguars (3-4) shot 36 percent (17 of 47) from the field and had just two second-chance baskets following offensive rebounds without Brooks, who averaged 12.8 points and seven rebounds in five games before his injury.

At the other end of the floor, Conner (3-3) shot 47 percent (19 of 40) from the field with 10 second-chance points to win the 33rd District seeding game despite committing 15 turnovers.

Conner scored the last five points in the first quarter on a 3-point goal by Dalton Kramer and second-chance basket by Hamilton to take a 14-11 lead and the Cougars stayed on top the rest of the game.

A second-chance basket by junior forward Ben Fay ignited an 11-2 run that put Conner ahead, 27-17, with two minutes left in second quarter, but Cooper trimmed the margin to 29-25 at halftime.

The Cougars regained control with a 13-4 run in the third quarter that ended with them holding a 42-29 advantage. Their first nine points came on 3-point goals by Kramer, Ayden Lohr and Corey Henson. When Cooper pulled to within 44-33 in the fourth quarter, Henson hit another trey and his Conner teammates made eight of 10 free throws in the final three minutes to nail down the victory.

The game’s leading scorers were Cooper sophomore guard Jamil Rondon with 17 points and Kramer with 15. Conner’s other double-figure scorers were Daniel Campbell (12) and Hamilton (11).

Cooper senior Whitney Lind takes the ball to the basket against Conner players Izelee Kerns and Anna Hamilton, who tries to draw a charge. (Photo by Bob Jackson)

In the second game of Friday’s double-header, the Cooper girls ended the first quarter with a 12-4 run to take a 20-13 lead and went on to post a 62-39 victory over Conner in the first district seeding game for both teams.

The defending 9th Region champion Jaguars snapped a two-game losing streak to push their record to 3-2. It was the fourth consecutive loss for Conner (3-4).

Late in the second quarter, Cooper senior guard Kay Freihofer left the game with an injured shoulder and did not return. Her team had a 34-20 lead at halftime and extended it to 50-27 going into the fourth quarter with her on the bench.

Six players scored for the Jaguars in the third quarter. They made 6 of 11 field goals in that period while Conner went 2 for 11 and committed three turnovers against Cooper’s aggressive man-to-man defense.

Reserve players scored all 12 of Cooper’s points in the fourth quarter. Haylee Noel, an eighth-grade guard, had a pair of 3-point goals and a basket off an assist by senior Whitney Lind.

In other boys basketball games on Friday, Covington Catholic and Highlands extended their perfect record to 7-0 with victories over Ohio opponents. CovCath won a game at La Salle, 88-69, and Highlands downed Cincinnati Trailblazers Home School, 78-53, at home.

CovCath shot 60.8 percent (31 of 51) from the field and had five double-figure scorers led by guards Evan Ipsaro and Brady Hussey with 22 points each.

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