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Cooper Jaguars take over top spot in the final Northern Kentucky girls' Power 9 rankings

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Feb 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 16:27:05-05

Cooper wrestled the top spot in the final edition of the Northern Kentucky girls’ Power 9 rankings away from Simon Kenton after knocking off the Pioneers last week. Simon Kenton had held the No. 1 ranking each week this season prior. Holmes dropped one spot to No. 3 following a loss to No. 6 Highlands and No.9 Holy Cross returned to the rankings after a one-week absence.

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

1. Cooper

Record: 18-5 (Last week No. 3)

This week’s opponents: Versus Ryle Thursday.

Beat the top team and become the top team. That’s what the Cooper girls did last week in a 72-68 win over No. 2 Simon Kenton on Feb. 2 at Cooper.

The Jags ran their winning streak to 12 when they beat the Pioneers, who had held the Power 9 No. 1 spot each week this season, and jumped two spots to the top despite a loss to Region 11 power Franklin County (22-5) two days later.

The Jaguars have surged upward through these power rankings after beginning the year at No. 9, having won 17 of 19 since a 1-3 start this season.

Junior guard Lexi Held scored 36 against Simon Kenton and led a trio of double-digit Cooper scorers with 17.5 points per game heading into Tuesday’s 63-55 win over Notre Dame. Senior guard Hailey Anderson had added 13.2 points while shooting 55.7 percent from the field and junior guard Asyah Mitchell had added 11.5 points per game for Cooper entering Tuesday.

A visit to No. 3 Holmes still looms later this month on Feb. 17 in the Jaguars’ regular-season finale.

RELATED: See Power 9 rankings for Ohio girls' teams.

2. Simon Kenton

Record: 20-5 (Last week No. 1)

This week’s opponents: Versus Mason County Saturday and at Highlands Monday.

Simon Kenton is 2-2 since Jan. 27, but the two losses have come at the hands of Louisville Sacred Heart, the No. 5 team in the latest Associated Press Kentucky state poll, at the Republic Bank/Coca-Cola Consolidated Louisville Invitational Tournament, and last week to new Power 9 No. 1, Cooper. Simon Kenton remains the only local team ranked in the AP top 10 at No. 8, down two spots from last week.

Still, Simon Kenton has won 15 of 17 overall and the Pioneers have dominated most local competition they have faced. They bounced back from the Cooper loss with a 69-59 win Feb. 6 at home against No. 7 Campbell County.

Junior guard Allyson Niece leads the Simon Kenton offense with 18.4 points per game. Junior forward Shelby Harmeyer has added 10.4 points per game with senior center Madi Meier at 9.9, junior guard Bailee Harney at 8.2 and freshman guard Maggi Jones at 7.7.

3. Holmes

Record: 20-4 (Last week No. 2)

This week’s opponents: At Campbell County Wednesday.

The Bulldogs’ seven-game winning streak came to an end Feb. 6 at No. 6 Highlands, but Holmes has won 13 of 15 overall and only slip one spot to No. 3.

Junior guard Laila Johnson leads four double-digit scorers for the defending 9th Region champs with 14.2 points per game. Senior guard Jaynice Stovall has added 14.1 points per game, sophomore guard Kamari Graham has added 13.5 and junior forward Tyrah McClendon-Englemon is at 11.5 points per game with a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game.

4. Scott

Record: 16-10 (Last week No. 4)

This week’s opponents: Versus Rowan County Friday and at Bracken County Saturday.

The Eagles ran their winning streak to four in a 55-41 win Tuesday night at Bishop Brossart. Those four wins followed back-to-back losses to No. 3 Holmes on Jan. 25 and No. 1 Cooper on Jan. 28 and Scott has won six of eight overall.

Junior Anna Clephane led the Eagles with 21.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game heading into Tuesday’s game at Brossart. Junior Alexis Stapleton had added 14.6 points and sophomore Summer Secrist had scored 11.6 points per game for the Eagles. Secrist was shooting 51.8 percent from the field entering Tuesday.

5. Conner

Record: 21-6 (Last week No. 5)

This week’s opponents: Versus Notre Dame Friday and versus Holy Cross Monday.

Conner has won four straight, all on the road, since a stretch of three losses in four games at the hands of the top three teams in the Power 9 -- No. 1 Cooper, No. 2 Simon Kenton and No. 3 Holmes -- Jan. 21-28 and the Cougars lead 9th Region teams with 21 wins overall.

Sophomore guard Courtney Hurst scored 22 Tuesday night in a 68-58 win at Boone County and she leads the Cougars with 14.3 points per game. Sophomore guard Savannah Jordan has added 10.6 points per game and sophomore forward Maddie Burcham has scored 10.2 points per game while senior center Calee Duncan leads the team with 7.5 rebounds per game and is the fourth-leading scorer at 7.3 points per game.

RELATED: See last week's NKY girls' Power 9.

6. Highlands

Record: 18-7 (Last week No. 6)

This week’s opponents: Versus Boone County Friday and versus Simon Kenton Monday.

The Bluebirds have won three straight, including the 62-49 win over No. 3 Holmes Feb. 6, and Highlands has won five of six overall.

Sophomore guard Zoie Barth led three Bluebirds in double figures with 19 against Holmes and is second on the team overall with 14.9 points per game. Barth has made 118 of 142 free throws this season, good for an 83.1 percent average. Senior Jenna Martin leads Highlands at 17 points per game and has made 76.7 percent of her free throws this season. The Bluebirds will get a shot at No. 2 Simon Kenton at home Monday after hosting Boone County Friday night.

7. Campbell County

Record: 16-9 (Last week No. 7)

This week’s opponents: Versus Holmes Wednesday, at Murray Saturday.

The defending 10th Region champs have lost two straight and three of four overall, but the last two losses came at Region 12 power Mercer County (20-6) and at No. 2 Simon Kenton.

Junior guard Taylor Clos led the Camels with 35 points in the 85.67 final against Mercer County and 20 in the 69-59 loss against Simon Kenton, and she leads the team with 21.8 points per game while connecting on 81.4 percent of her free-throw attempts (114 of 140). Junior forward Mackenzie Schwarber has added 13.2 points per game and a team-leading 8.2 rebounds per contest for the Camels while Clos has also grabbed 4.6 rebounds per game. The Camels have another tough task with a game at home Wednesday against No. 3 Holmes.

8. Ryle

Record: 13-14 (Last No. 8)

This week’s opponents: At Cooper Thursday and versus St. Henry Friday.

The Raiders suffered back-to-back losses last week at home to No. 5 Conner and at No. 6 Highlands and will have to tangle with top-ranked Cooper Thursday night.

Senior Lauren Schwartz was leading the Raiders with 17.7 points per game through January and freshman guard Maddie Scherr had added 14.9 points per game.

9. Holy Cross

Record: 16-8 (Last week unranked)

This week’s opponents: At Conner Monday.

The Indians are back in the Power 9 at No. 9 following a one-week absence and have won three straight. Holy Cross has won eight of 11 overall with only a three-game skid from Jan. 19-28 tarnishing the record in that span.

Dropped out: Lloyd (13-11)