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Posted On: 12/23/17 7:36 PM
(Photo Credit to NKY Tribune)
In what could be a preview of the 9th Region tournament championship game, reigning region champion Cooper took on the ultra-talented Colonels of Covington Catholic Saturday evening at the King of the Bluegrass invitational. The outcome of the game remained the same as last season’s regional championship game – with Belmont commit Adam Kunkel and Cooper coming out on top. PHKY gives you it’s five takeaways from the game:
1.) The Bid to the Sweet 16 in the 9th Runs Through Cooper/Covington Catholic – The final score of the game is indicative of how close the race to Rupp Arena will be for these two teams playing in the 9th Region. Cooper won 62-59, with Covington Catholic making it a much closer outcome than last season’s 38-51 loss to Cooper in the regional final game. Both teams are unanimously considered to be the favorites to make it to Lexington.
2.) The Talent on the Floor Between the two Teams – is something to take notice of in Northern Kentucky. Adam Kunkel, a Belmont commit, hopes to lead Cooper back to the state tournament after a trip to the final game last season. The senior guard is currently averaging 21 points and 9 rebounds per game. Kunkel scored 23 points tonight. On the Covington Catholic side, seniors CJ Frederick, Jake Walter, and Aiden Ruthsatz have committed to Iowa, Xavier, and Christian Brothers (D-2), respectively. Junior forward Nick Thelan just recieved an offer from D-2 powerhouse Bellarmine this week. Frederick led Covington Catholic in scoring tonight, totaling a game-high 27 points.
3.) Same Records Halfway Through Season – With the loss, Covington Catholic, who is ranked #22 nationally in the USA Today Poll, moved to 7-2 on the season. That’s not a bad thing, considering both loses came back-to-back, with their previous loss coming to state tournament contender Fern Creek.
With the win, Cooper moves to 7-2 on the year, as well. Cooper lost to Louisville Trinity, also a state tournament contender, at the King of the Bluegrass and to Hilliard Bradley (OH) earlier in the season.
4.) What Can Covington Catholic do to Combat Cooper? – Cooper went into halftime with the lead, up 31-25. Cooper held off Covington Catholic’s late push at the end of the contest. The Colonels seemed to have had the same issue in last season’s regional championship game. Getting off to a quicker start and not having to exhaust themselves late could help Cov Cath.
5.) If You Missed This One – No worries. Cooper and Covington Catholic play each other again on January 12th at Northern Kentucky University’s Bank of Kentucky Center. And if we are lucky, again during the regional tournament.