Northern Kentucky girls' 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. There are separate rankings for Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, with the boys and girls Cincinnati Power 9s publishing on Tuesday.
WCPO.com will highlight these teams throughout the winter leading up to the district tournaments in mid-February.
1. Simon Kenton
This week’s opponents: At Scott Wednesday, versus Shelby County Saturday, versus Dixie Heights Monday.
Simon Kenton has played five Northern Kentucky teams this season -- Ryle, Notre Dame, Newport Central Catholic, Walton-Verona and Scott -- and beaten them all by at least 29 points, so the top spot is the Pioneers’ to lose.
Simon Kenton has won four straight, including a 3-0 record at the Gateway Holiday Classic last week at Montgomery County where the Pioneers beat Wednesday’s foe Scott 81-51.
Junior guard Allyson Niece paces the Simon Kenton offense with 17.9 points per game. Five other Pioneers -- senior center Madi Meier (9.3), junior forward Shelby Harmeyer (9.2), freshman guard Maggi Jones (9.2), junior guard Bailee Harney (8.5) and freshman guard Morgan Stamper (7.1) are dependable scorers.
This week’s opponents: Versus Notre Dame Wednesday.
Holmes has won five straight and 10 of 11 overall, including going 3-0 last week at the Lady Bulldog Holiday Classic at Hazard. Four Bulldogs were averaging double-figures in scoring before a pair of holiday tournaments in December.
Senior guard Jaynice Stovall led the defending 9th Region champions with 15.7 points per game through six games with sophomore guard Kamari Graham at 14.5, junior forward Tyrah McClendon-Englemon at 12.5 and junior guard Laila Johnson at 12.3.
This week’s opponents: At Cincinnati St. Ursula Tuesday, versus Newport Central Catholic Friday.
Zoie Barth and Jenna Martin lead a Bluebirds squad that has won eight of nine since opening the season with two losses in three games. In fact, Highlands has not lost to a Northern Kentucky team all season. Barth, a sophomore guard, has scored 15.8 points per game while making 52 of 58 free throws this season and Martin, a senior, has added 15.4. Martin has connected on 23 of 26 free throws and is shooting 53 percent from the field.
This week’s opponents: Versus Boone County Thursday and at Franklin County Saturday at the Centria Metals/Penn Station Shootout.
Conner was 3-0 last week at its LaRosa’s Holiday Classic and has won five of six overall.
Sophomore guard Courtney Hurst leads three sophomore double-digit scorers for the Cougars with 14.8 points per game. Guard Savannah Jordan has added 11 and forward Maddie Burcham has scored 10.2 points per game while leading the team with 6.7 rebounds per game.
5. Campbell County
This week’s opponents: Versus Newport Central Catholic Wednesday, versus Brossart Saturday.
Junior guard Taylor Clos has shot nearly 50 percent from the field and made 47 of 58 free throws to average 21.1 points per game for the defending 10th Region champions.
Clos has also grabbed 4.9 rebounds per game. Junior forward Mackenzie Schwarber has added 11.7 points per game and a team-leading 7.1 rebounds per contest for Campbell County. The Camels have won three straight and seven of eight overall since beginning the season with a 2-3 record.
6. Holy Cross
This week’s opponents: At Cincinnati Ursuline Academy Tuesday, versus Beechwood Friday and versus Ludlow Monday at Bellevue.
Holy Cross has won seven of eight after a 1-3 start to the season. That run includes a 3-0 record and the championship last week at the Minqua Beef Jerky Holiday Classic at Bourbon County. Senior guard Aleah Tucker was leading the Indians with 11.6 points per game through seven games prior to a pair of holiday tournaments.
This week’s opponents: Versus Simon Kenton Wednesday and versus Beechwood Saturday.
Junior Anna Clephane paces the Eagles with 23.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game to lead three double-digit scorers for Scott. Junior Alexis Stapleton has added 13.2 points and sophomore Summer Secrist has scored 10.7 points per game for the Eagles. Secrist is shooting 50.6 percent from the field. The Eagles have won two of three.
8. Newport Central Catholic
This week’s opponents: At Campbell County Wednesday, at Highlands Friday and versus Bellevue Monday.
Junior guard Lexy Breen leads the Thoroughbreds with 14.2 points per game. Senior center Ajia Rice (7.8), sophomore forward Kara Zimmerman (7.4) and sophomore guard Bryanna Bridewell (6.1) are also dependable scorers for NewCath. The Breds have hovered around the .500 mark since a 3-0 start to the season.
This week’s opponents: At Ryle Wednesday, at Grant County Thursday.
The Jaguars have only hit the floor eight times this season, but have won four straight since a 1-3 start behind a trio of double-digit scorers.
Junior guard Lexi Held leads the Jags with 15.1 points per game. Senior guard Hailey Anderson has added 12.4 points per game while shooting 55.4 percent from the field and junior guard Asyah Mitchell has scored 11.6 points per game while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. Mitchell and Held lead Cooper with and 5.7 rebounds per game each.