WCPO Northern Kentucky girls' Power 9 hoops rankings for Feb. 1

Simon Kenton remains atop the Northern Kentucky Girls’ Power 9 this week despite a loss last week to one of the state’s top teams. No. 2 Holmes Bulldogs and No. 3 Cooper also look to be well ahead of the rest of the pack in the area as teams roll on toward this month’s postseason tournaments.

Here’s a closer look at the fifth edition of the Power 9, based on strength of schedule, overall statistical success and our staff observations from the season.

1. Simon Kenton

Record: 19-4 (Last week No. 1)

This week’s opponents: At Cooper Thursday and versus Campbell County Monday.

Simon Kenton’s winning streak ended at 13 last week in a 56-45 loss Jan. 27 to Louisville Sacred Heart at the Republic Bank/Coca-Cola Consolidated Louisville Invitational Tournament, but the Pioneers bounced back Jan. 30 with a 78-37 win at Williamstown. The loss to Sacred Heart was the second of the season for the Pioneers at the hands of the fifth-ranked team in the latest Associated Press state poll. Simon Kenton fell two spots to No. 6 in the state poll. The Pioneers remain the only local team ranked in the top 10.

Still, Simon Kenton has won 14 of 15 overall and continues to dominate local teams. Now 10 area teams are among the 19 foes to fall to the Pioneers, including Scott and Ryle twice each. Ryle’s second loss this season at the hands of the Pioneers was the closest a local team has come thus far at 27 points. Scott’s second loss to Simon Kenton on Jan. 4 was a 28-point defeat.

Junior guard Allyson Niece leads the Simon Kenton offense with 18.1 points per game. Junior forward Shelby Harmeyer has added 10.6 points per game with senior center Madi Meier at 9.4, junior guard Bailee Harney at 8.1, freshman guard Maggi Jones at 7.9 and freshman guard Morgan Stamper at 6.4. The Pioneers will face their biggest local test of the season Thursday at No. 3 Cooper.

RELATED: See this week's NKY boys' Power 9 rankings.

2. Holmes

Record: 18-3 (Last week No. 2)

This week’s opponents: Versus Newport Central Catholic Friday, at Clinton County Saturday and at Highlands Monday.

Holmes is on a five-game winning streak since a loss to state No. 8 DuPont Manual on Jan. 14 and the Bulldogs have won 11 of 12 overall to maintain a firm grip on the No. s spot in the Power 9. The five-game winning streak includes a 61-45 win over No. 4 Scott Jan. 25 and a 63-58 win over No. 5 Conner Jan. 28.

Junior guard Laila Johnson leads the defending 9th Region champs with 14.6 points per game, topping three Bulldogs averaging more than 14 per game and four in double-figures overall. Senior guard Jaynice Stovall has added 14.3 points per game, including 27 in a 70-29 win over Newport Jan. 30, sophomore guard Kamari Graham has added 14.2 points per game and junior forward Tyrah McClendon-Englemon is at 10.9 points per game with a team-best 7.7 rebounds per game.

The Bulldogs will face perhaps their toughest stretch of the season thus far with home games against No. 4 Scott Wednesday and No. 5 Conner on Saturday.

RELATED: See who's on top of the Ohio girls' Power 9.

3. Cooper

Record: 16-4 (Last week No. 3)

This week’s opponents: Versus Simon Kenton Thursday, versus Franklin County Saturday and versus Notre Dame Tuesday.

The Jaguars surged upward through these power rankings throughout January while on an 11-game winning streak and a run of 15 wins in 16 games since a 1-3 start this season, but February could be the real proving ground for Cooper.

The Jags host Power 9 No. 1 Simon Kenton Thursday and Region 11 power Franklin County (19-5) on Saturday. A visit to No. 2 Holmes looms later this month on Feb. 17 to close out the regular season. Junior guard Lexi Held led a trio of double-digit Cooper scorers with 16.9 points per game for the Jags heading into a 70-45 win over Walton-Verona and scored 1 game-high 19 against the Bearcats. Senior guard Hailey Anderson had added 13.8 points while shooting 56 percent from the field. Junior guard Asyah Mitchell had added 11.6 points per game for Cooper entering Tuesday.

4. Scott

Record: 13-10 (Last week No. 4)

This week’s opponents: Versus George Rogers Clark Friday, at Boone County Saturday and at Brossart Tuesday.

The Eagles lost back-to-back games last week to No. 2 Holmes and No. 3 Cooper last week, but bounced back with a 56-50 win over Mason County Tuesday night. Junior Anna Clephane returned to the Eagles’ lineup after a short absence with 18 against Mason County and led the Eagles with 22.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game going into Tuesday’s game. Junior Alexis Stapleton had added 14.5 points and sophomore Summer Secrist had scored 11.4 points per game for the Eagles. Secrist was shooting 51.8 percent from the field entering Tuesday.

5. Conner

Record: 17-6 (Last week No. 5)

This week’s opponents: At Ryle Wednesday, at Bullitt Central Friday, at Collins Saturday and at Boone County Tuesday.

Conner has lost two straight and three of four, but each of those losses have come to the top-three Power 9 teams. No. 3 Cooper outlasted the Cougars, 65-62, Jan. 21, No. 1 Simon Kenton beat Conner 70-44 Jan. 26 and No. 2 Holmes hung on to beat Conner, 63-58, Jan. 28. The competition level might drop off a bit this week, but things don’t get much easier for the Cougars with four games on the road. Sophomore guard Courtney Hurst leads the Cougars with 13.6 points per game and sophomore guard Savannah Jordan has added 10.1 points per game. Sophomore forward Maddie Burcham has scored 9.9 points per game and senior center Calee Duncan leads the team with 7.1 rebounds per game and is the fourth-leading scorer at 7.2 points per game.

6. Highlands

Record: 15-7 (Last week No. 7)

This week’s opponents: Versus Dixie Heights Friday, versus Ryle Saturday and versus Holmes Monday.

The Bluebirds have lost three of five since an early January four-game winning streak. Senior Jenna Martin leads Highlands with 16.5 points per game and has made 76.3 percent of her free throws this season. Sophomore guard Zoie Barth has added 14.8 points per game and has made 99 of 117 free throws this season, good for an 84.6 percent average.

7. Campbell County

Record: 16-7 (Last week No. 8)

This week’s opponents: At Mercer County Saturday and at Simon Kenton Monday.

Junior guard Taylor Clos led the Camels with 21.5 points per game while connecting on 80.6 percent of her free-throw attempts (104 of 129) heading into 55-35 win over Notre Dame Jan. 30. Junior forward Mackenzie Schwarber was adding 12.8 points per game and a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per contest for the Camels while Clos has also grabbed 4.4 rebounds per game. The defending 10th Region champs have won four of six.

8. Ryle

Record: 13-12 (Last week unranked)

This week’s opponents: Versus Conner Wednesday and at Highlands Saturday.

The Raiders jumped back into the Power 9 after a one-week absence with back-to-back wins last week against Boone County and Holy Cross. Ryle has won three of five, with the two losses in that span coming to Region 11 power Franklin County (19-5) and Power 9 No. 1 Simon Kenton.

Senior Lauren Schwartz leads the Raiders with 17.7 points per game and freshman guard Maddie Scherr has added 14.9 points per game. Ryle will embark on its toughest stretch of the season with games against No. 5 Conner and at No. 6 Highlands this week with a matchup at No. 3 Cooper looming Feb. 9.

9. Lloyd

Record: 11-10 (Last week No. 9)

This week’s opponents: Versus Carroll County Thursday, versus Ludlow Saturday and versus St. Henry Tuesday.

The Juggernauts remain at No. 9 despite a 64-47 loss at Williamstown Jan. 27. The Juggernauts have won six of eight overall.

Senior guard Devin Cheatum was leading Lloyd with 14.7 points per game entering a 61-51 win over Dixie Heights Jan. 24. Freshman Jayla LaBordeaux was adding 9.6 and senior guard Alyssa Binkley was adding 8.9 points per game for the Juggernauts.

Dropped out: Holy Cross (13-8)

 

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