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Covington Catholic, Cooper top first Northern Kentucky Power 9 boys basketball rankings

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Posted at 10:00 AM, Jan 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-04 12:12:40-05

Northern Kentucky high school basketball teams will be back on the floor this week after two weeks of holiday tournaments and round-robins.

With the start of the second half of the season, WCPO.com presents the “Power 9” rankings, a weekly look at the top nine boys’ and girls’ teams based on records, strength of schedule, and overall statistical success and our staff subjectivity in observations from the season. On Tuesday, we revealed the Power 9 for teams on the Ohio side of the river. Today, we unveil the best in Northern Kentucky.

WCPO.com will highlight these teams throughout the winter leading up to the district tournaments in mid-February.

1. Covington Catholic

Record: 10-3

This week’s opponents: Versus Holy Cross Tuesday, versus Conner Friday and versus South Laurel Saturday at the Raymond Reed Classic.

The Colonels went 1-1 last week at the Skyline Classic at St. Anthony, New Jersey, losing to unbeaten St. Augustine Prep.

Still, CovCath has not lost to a Northern Kentucky team this season.

Junior guard CJ Frederick. CovCath’s leading scorer at 21.9 points per game, missed the New Jersey trip with an injury and it is unclear when he will return. Senior guard Cole Vonhandorf is the second-leading scorer at 17.2 points per game. Junior center Jake Walter leads the team with 7.8 rebounds per game and junior forward AJ Mayer has added 7.3 boards.

2. Cooper

Record: 9-3

This week’s opponents: Versus Highlands Tuesday, at Boone County Friday and at Harrison County Saturday.

Cooper has won five straight since back-to-back losses to Louisville Trinity and Christian County -- a pair of one-loss perennial powers -- in mid-December at the King of the Bluegrass event at Fairdale.

Senior guard Sean McNeil leads the Jaguars with 17.6 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Adam Kunkel has added 17.1 points per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from 3-point range. Junior guard Brayden Runion averages 9.3 points per game for the Jags.

3. Campbell County

Record: 12-1

This week’s opponents: Versus Mason County Tuesday and versus neighborhood rival Bishop Brossart Saturday.

The Camels have won 10 straight since an early season loss at Bracken County, including rolling through three games last week at the Lloyd Memorial Tournament with double-digit wins over Newport, Conner and Woodford County.

Seniors Cole Hegyi and Garren Bertsch are the top two players on the floor for Campbell County. Hegyi leads the team with 18.3 points per game and 5.7 rebounds, and Bertsch has added 17.5 points and 4.8 rebounds.

4. Dixie Heights

Record: 10-2

This week’s opponents: At St. Henry Tuesday, versus Ryle Friday and versus Bowling Green Saturday at the First Security New Year’s Bash at Muhlenberg County.

The Colonels were 2-1 last week at the Mitchell F. Irvin Classic at South Oldham and cruised through three games the previous week at the Simon Kenton Invitational Tournament with three double-digit wins.

Senior guard Hunter Meyer led the Colonels with 17.1 points per game through nine games prior to the trip to South Oldham and senior forward Reed Bradfield was second on the team at 12.6 points per game. Junior guard Tyler Schreck leads Dixie with 6.7 rebounds per game and Meyer has added 5.7 boards.

5. Scott

Record: 10-4

This week’s opponents: Versus Holmes Tuesday, at Simon Kenton Friday.

Scott won three straight last week at the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic and the Eagles have won six of eight overall.

Success for Scott begins with Senior Jake Ohmer who has averaged 26.9 points per game this season while shooting 57 percent from the field. He also leads the team with 8.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore Chad Ohmer, Jake’s younger brother, has added 10.7 points per game.

6. Lloyd

Record: 9-4

This week’s opponents: Versus Conner Wednesday and versus Henry County Saturday.

The Juggernauts won two of three at last week at their Lloyd Memorial Tournament and have won three of four overall.

Three double-digit average scorers pace Lloyd, led by senior forward Sterling Hamilton at 14.3 points per game. Sophomore guard Devion McClendon has added 11.3 points and senior guard Derrick Cipollone has added 11.2 points per game. Sterling is also the Juggernauts’ top rebounder at 7.3 boards per game.

7. Newport Central Catholic

Record: 6-5

This week’s opponents: Versus John Hardin Saturday at Central Hardin.

The defending 9th region champions and 2016 state semifinalists have tread around the .500 mark all season, winning three straight, losing two straight and winning three in a row again. The Thoroughbreds won two of three at the Apollo Holiday Classic last week, dropping the finale to host Apollo, 46-40.

Junior guard Brennan Hall leads the Breds with 16.5 points per game. Senior guard Luke Moeves has added 11.2 points per game.

8. Walton-Verona

Record: 9-4

This week’s opponents: Versus Owen County Tuesday.

The Bearcats have won seven of eight since a 2-3 start to the season, including winning two of three last week at the Red River Classic at Powell County. Dieonte Miles is the top scorer for Walton-Verona. The sophomore center averaged 14.4 points per game through mid-December

9. Simon Kenton

Record: 8-4

This week’s opponents: Versus Scott Friday and versus Ashland Blazer Saturday at Russell.

Simon Kenton has lost three of four since a seven-game winning streak in December.

The Pioneers dropped their finale at the Simon Kenton Invitational Tournament against Dixie Heights Dec. 23 and then lost two of three at the Ashland Invitational.

Senior JC Hawkins and junior Zach Kelch are double-digit scorers for the Pioneers and Kelch averages nearly 10 rebounds per game.