HALL OF FAME
Covington Catholic ends Bardstown's impressive run
March 25, 2014Bardstown High School
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Covington Catholic went away from its long-range game and powered the ball inside in a 61-54 victory over an underrated Bardstown basketball team Friday night in the Whitaker Bank/KHSAA Sweet 16.
The Colonels, Ninth Region champions and ranked No. 6 in The Courier-Journal's Litkenhous Ratings, knocked down 12 of 18 threes in beating Clay County in the first round. The Tigers got 21 points from point guard Nick Ruthsatz, 17 from Mark Schult and 10 from Cole VonHandorf, while improving their record to 31-2.
"We took advantage of a mismatch inside with Schult against a 6-2 guy they had," CovCath coach Scott Ruthsatz said. "We didn't shoot many threes tonight so we did it the old fashion way: We pounded the ball inside.''
The Colonels were 2 for 8 on 3-point attempts.
Schult, who plays taller than his listed height of 6 feet 3, scored 12 points in the first half. In the second half, Nick Ruthsatz, the coach's son, took over, hitting 9 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter.
"The good thing about our team is that everybody can score and everybody can play," said Schult, who hit 7 of 10 shots. Sometimes it's Nick, sometimes it's Ben (Heppler). We're all going for the same goal."
CovCath, which lost the 1977 state final on a last-second put-back by Earlington, advances to a semifinal against Bowling Green (29-6) at 8 tonight. The Purples beat McCracken County 64-58 in the quarterfinals.
There were 14 ties in the game, the last at 50-50 before VonHandorf gave the Colonels a 52-50 edge. Two free throws by Ruthsatz pushed to lead to 54-50, but Seivon Schooling cut the deficit to two with two foul shots with 1:20 to play.
Three free throws by Ruthsatz padded the margin to 57-52 with 42.7 seconds left. LJ Cowherd, who scored 13 for Bardstown (27-7), made a goal and the Tigers trailed by three 35.7 seconds remaining. Heppler hit his only two free throws of the game for a 59-54 lead two seconds later.
Ruthsatz closed out the scoring with two more free throws with 7 seconds to play.
"When I walk up to the foul line I think about not wanting to make this the last game we play this season," Ruthsatz said. "That's what I focus on."
Bardstown hadn't been rated in the Top 20 all season, but the Tigers won the Fifth Region and the first Sweet 16 game in the school's history when they beat Pleasure Ridge Park on Thursday night. They also gave CovCath all it wanted.
Keanu Young led Bardstown with 14 points and Schooling added 10, although he missed four key free throws in the fourth period.
"Nobody believed in us all year. We got no respect," Tigers coach James "Boo" Brewer said. "These kids worked hard and they were a blessing to coach. We just missed a couple of shots and free throws we normally make. We limited Covington Catholic to only two threes after they made 12 Thursday night."