By Dave Malaska
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — Boone County turned up the pressure, beating St. Henry, 49-29, in Wednesday night's 9th Region quarterfinals at NKU's Bank of Kentucky Arena.
The Rebels (18-11) forced the Crusaders into four turnovers and a pair of missed shot on their first six possessions to take an early lead.
St. Henry didn't get on the scoreboard until midway through the quarter on a Savannah Neace putback.
"Our defense was great. We knew they'd have to go through (senior guard Kelly Coburn) and did a great job on her," said Boone coach Nell Fookes.
Coburn was held in check as Fookes' squad had opened a double-digit lead, 23-10, by the half with Alexis Switzer scoring 11 of the Rebels' points.
Boone pushed its lead to 20 on a Dallis Knotts 3-pointer at the 2:50 mark in the third quarter before the Crusaders rallied.
A bucket and free throws by Samantha Hentz cut Boone's lead to 12 by the end of the quarter, and a 3-pointer by Kelly Coburn brought St. Henry back to within nine midway through the fourth.
In a span of two minutes, though, the Rebels' pressure pushed their lead back to 18 and Boone County cruised to the win.
Held 20 points under their season average, the Crusaders shot just 16 percent (7-for-43) from the field in the loss.
Knotts finished with 13 points and Switzer 12 to lead Boone County. Jessica Jones added 10 to the Rebels' effort.
St. Henry was led by Neace's nine points, most coming in the first half.
Boone County will face Notre Dame at noon Sunday in one of the region's semifinals. The Pandas thumped Newport, 59-17, in Wednesday's late game.
The squads met back in January, with the Pandas winning, 64-49.
"We're going to have a tough time beating them," said Fookes. "They have very few weaknesses. Nobody thinks we can, except ourselves. But then nobody thought we'd be in the position we are now."
ST. HENRY 4-6-14-5—29
BOONE CO. 13-10-13-13—49
ST. HENRY (14-16): Miller 2 0 5, Marks 1 0 2, K. Coburn 1 2 4, Neace 2 5 9, Hentz 1 3 5, Lehmkuhl 0 4 4. Totals 7 13 29.
BOONE COUNTY (18-11): Ford 1 2 4, Jones 4 2 10, Switzer 4 1 12, Moore 0 1 1, Travis 1 0 2, Knotts 4 2 13, Lankheit 1 1 3, McQueary 2 0 4. Totals 18 9 49.
3-pointers: SH—Miller. B—Switzer 3, Knotts 3.
NOTRE DAME 59, NEWPORT 17 — The nightcap quickly became a laugher (or crier, depending on perspective) as the Pandas held Newport scoreless in the first quarter.
By the time the Wildcats scored their first points, over a minute into the second quarter, Notre Dame had opened a 26-point lead.
It took another four minutes for Newport to score again. By that time, Notre Dame's lead ballooned to over 30 en route to a 41-point halftime lead, 46-5.
The Pandas shot 66 percent from the field while Newport connected on only 2-of-18 attempts (.111).
Under a new rule, officials kept the clock running in the second half and NDA's starters hardly played.
"We're on a good stretch, playing well as a team and playing well at the right time," said Pandas coach Nicole Levandusky, who clearly enjoyed the night joking with officials and her bench as her squad cruised.
At one point in the first half, calling for a play, her players instead hit a quick bucket, interrupting the coach in mid-scream.
"... Or that! That's good, too!" she continued to the delight of her players.
"You see how much they listen to me," Levandusky laughed after the game.
Carlee Clemons finished with 13 to lead NDA in scoring, while Paige Kellam scored 12. Olivia Voskuhl finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
For Newport, Kylie Orr was the top scorer. She had six points.
Levandusky said the Pandas will be back at work Thursday in preparation for Sunday's matchup with Boone County.
"It's that time of year when anything can happen, so we've got to continue to work on ourselves to keep playing, she said.
N. DAME 23-23-6-7—59
NEWPORT (18-13): Hoeh 1 0 2, Hensley 1 0 3, Kilburn 1 0 2, Orr 2 2 6, Kroth 1 0 2, Beal 1 0 2. Totals 7 2 17.
NOTRE DAME (24-5): Stallman 1 0 2, Ogle 1 0 2, Hansel 1 1 4, Bernhard 2 0 6, Voskuhl 3 2 8, Kellam 6 0 12, Hellmann 2 0 4, Clemons 5 1 13, Tranter 1 0 3, Smith 1 1 3, Rennekamp 1 0 2. Totals 24 5 59.
3-pointers: N—Hensley. ND—Hansel, Bernhard 2, Clemons 2, Tranter.
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A special "Sports of All Sorts" episode was broadcast Sunday evening to look back at the many memories and lasting impact 9 On Your Side's Dennis Janson has had on the Tri-State community.