By Dick Ham
Covington Catholic was crowned the KHSAA Boys Basketball champions after beating Scott County 59-51 Sunday afternoon at Rupp Arena.
The action got underway after two male choirs set the stage in stirring fashion. One sang “My Old Kentucky Home” and another the national anthem.
I’m not sure which group sang our state song, but it did an excellent job. A choir from Covington Catholic, an all boys school, sang the “Star Spangled Banner,” and they sang beautifully.
Scott County got off to an excellent start and finished the first quarter with five three-point shots. The entire quarter was fast-paced, but the shooting was poor, except for those threes. After one quarter, Scott County had nearly doubled the score on CovCath, 17-9.
The teams played almost evenly in the second quarter, swapping baskets and going to the locker rooms at halftime with Scott County still in the lead, 27-18.
During halftime, members of the 1964 championship team from Seneca High School were recognized, along with their coach, Bob Mulcahy.
Then after three quarters of play, Scott was still in the lead, 36-28.
Covington Catholic caught fire in the last quarter and had battled Scott County to a tie, 47-47, when the buzzer sounded.
However, the overtime was all Covington Catholic, and it won by eight points.
In the final minutes, the Covington Catholic fans became even more rowdy than they had been throughout the game. They yelled foul language and tore down a steel railing in front of their stands. They also smarted off to 101 Club members and got by with much smarting off to police officers.
Of all the 16 teams, this one was my least favorite because of their fans, yet they are the champions.
One thing about the afternoon puzzled me. KHSAA personnel were not permitted to occasionally give us a score from the UK Wildcats’ game. How could that hurt anything to keep fans informed and updated? It makes no sense whatsoever.
The official attendance Sunday was reported as 14,165. That is a very small number for a final Sweet 16 game. I believe the reason for the smaller attendance is because the Wildcats were playing in the NCAA Tournament against Wichita State at the same time.
Scott County got to the final game by upsetting favored Trinity 62-56 on Saturday. Led by Trent Gilbert, who scored 36 points and was named the game’s most valuable player, Scott County caught fire in the third quarter, hitting some key free throws.
Covington Catholic got to the final game by beating Bowling Green 81-68.
The outcome seemed evident in the third quarter, and fans began to exit early.
However, Bowling Green made a brief run in the third quarter and hit numerous free throws in the fourth but was unable to gain the lead. The game was not nearly as close as the score might indicate.
Bowling Green had a large and well-behaved cheering section and a very large and excellent band. Covington Catholic had neither. They were very free with boos when the other team was shooting free throws and used foul language frequently when the opposition committed a foul. It was hard to believe the different states of dress, and sometimes undress, of CovCath students. I’m amazed the school would permit that.
During the third quarter, a CovCath student was escorted out by police. I have no idea why.
Joe B. Hall, who always attends the Sweet 16 when he can, was in his regular seat Saturday, and I got a chance to visit with him a bit. He is such a fine and gracious man.
I enjoy the color and excitement that occurs in Rupp Arena every year during the KHSAA Boys Basketball Sweet 16, sponsored this year by Whitaker Bank. I hope to continue covering it as long as possible.