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Prep Sports Report: Walton-Verona boys join list of top-seeded teams for district basketball tournaments

By Terry Boehmker
NKyTribune sports reporter

Walton-Verona pulled out a close win at Grant County, 73-70, on Wednesday to clinch the top seed in the 32nd District boys basketball tournament that begins the last week of February.

The Bearcats (19-7) were behind, 35-30, at halftime and outscored the home team, 23-13 in the third quarter when junior forward Aaron Gutman got 11 of his game-high 29 points.

Walton-Verona junior forward Aaron Gutman (File photo by Bob Jackson)

Walton-Verona’s other double-figure scorers were seniors Zach Smith with 17 points and Julian Dixon with 10. The Bearcats had a 17-9 scoring advantage at the free throw line, but two missed foul shots in the final seconds gave Grant County a chance to tie the score. The Braves got off a 3-point half-court shot that fell short.

In another boys game on Wednesday, Newport defeated Newport Central Catholic, 73-51, to take the top seed in the 36th District. The other top seeds in the boys district playoffs will be Lloyd in the 34th, Covington Catholic in the 35th and Campbell County in the 37th.

Cooper, Ryle and Boone County are tied for the 33rd District boys top seed. Cooper will likely get it based on Ratings Percentage Index scores that are used as a tiebreaker.

The Brossart girls defeated Scott, 41-37, on Wednesday to create a three-way tie in the 37th District that will also be decided by RPI.  Campbell County, Scott and Brossart all have a 1-1 record in seeding games against each other.

The girls teams that have clinched district top seeds are Grant County in the 32nd, Dixie Heights in the 34th, Holy Cross in the 35th and Highlands in the 36th. Cooper needs a win over Boone County on Thursday to get the top seed in the 33rd.

Ludlow edged Bellevue, 46-44, on Wednesday to claim the Division III girls conference title and the two teams could meet again if they win opening games in the NKAC Classic on Thursday at Bellevue. The matchups in those games will be Ludlow vs. Villa Madonna at 6 p.m. and Bellevue vs. Dayton at 7:30 p.m. The winners will advance to the championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday at Ludlow.

Wrestlers begin post-season competition at Region 5 tournament

Landon Evans

Local wrestlers will compete in the Region 5 tournament on Saturday at Boone County with the top four finishers in each weight class advancing to the state championship tournament Feb. 16-17 at Kentucky Horse Park.

Last year, Ryle won the Region 5 team title and had state qualifiers in 10 of the 14 weight classes. Campbell County had nine state qualifiers and Walton-Verona had eight.

Two wrestlers that won state titles last year were Simon Kenton sophomore Braden Blevins at 106 pounds and Ryle junior Landon Evans at 113. In this week’s state rankings, Evans was No. 1 and Blevins was No. 2 in the 120-pound weight class.   

The other local wrestlers ranked No. 2 in the state are Walton-Verona junior TJ Meyer (138), Ryle junior Rider Trumble (144) and Highlands senior Rilen Pinkston (167). Meyer was state runner-up in the 120-pound weight class the last two years.

Bowler finishes among top 10 in state tournament singles standings

Northern Kentucky’s top finishers in the state high school bowling tournament this week were ninth by Antonio Williams of Boone County in boys and 11th by Alyssa Bechtold of Dixie Heights in girls.

The top eight bowlers in singles standings advanced to the semifinals. Williams had a three-game total of 634 (199, 247, 188) in boys singles and missed making the semifinals by 17 pins. Bechtold’s three-game total was 527 (200, 184, 143) and the girls semifinal cutoff was 542.

In the team championship brackets, local teams had an 0-4 record in girls and 1-3 record in boys. Ryle was the only boys team that won a first-round match.  

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