By Terry Boehmker
sports journalist NKyTribune
Conner’s boys’ basketball team won three games at a vacation tournament in Louisville this week to win the championship trophy and take their record to 10-3 early in the New Year.
Junior guards Daniel Campbell and Landen Hamilton were double-digit scorers in all three wins. In a first round victory over Louisville Seneca, Campbell posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. In the championship game against Louisville Eastern, Hamilton did the same with 16 points and 16 rebounds.
Last season Hamilton was a starting goaltender averaging 10.9 points on Conner’s first team to advance to the Region 9 final since 2005. He is currently averaging 20.1 points and has 32 of his team’s 58 3-point placements.
Hamilton has been a double-digit scorer in each of the Cougars’ first 13 games. The final margins of their three losses were three, two and three points.
Campbell was one of the Cougars’ most improved players. He is averaging 12.8 points and a high of 6.2 rebounds after getting just 3.0 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season. In all three tournament games this week, he shot 56.4 percent (22 of 39) from the field to increase his season average to 47.7 percent (62 of 130).
The Cougars are averaging 59.9 points per game while limiting their opponents to 51.0. They have held six teams under 50 points, including two in this week’s tournament.
This is Matt Otte’s sixth season as Conner’s head coach. He was a university assistant in three high schools before taking over the program. The Cougars have posted a winning record four of the last five years and have played in the last three regional tournaments under Otte. His career record now stands at 91-62.
Conner will be back in action on Tuesday with a home game against Holy Cross (9-3). The Indians lost to Louisville Eastern in the semifinals of the holiday tournament Conner won this week.
Basketball player and volleyball team inducted into LaRosa Hall of Fame
A 2,000-point scorer in Region 9 Women’s High School basketball and one of the first North Kentucky State Championship teams in volleyball were chosen to be inducted into the Buddy High School Hall of Fame LaRosa.
Tara Boothe-Smith scored 2,286 points for the Highland women’s basketball team and topped the state with an average of 25.2 in her senior season in 2001-02. She also averaged 13.4 rebounds and shot 56 percent from the field that season to win All-State First Team honors.
Smith continued her career at Xavier University where she recorded 2,324 points and 1,004 rebounds in four seasons. She played one season of professional basketball in the Elite Swiss League and was named the league’s MVP after leading her team to the championship.
Two years after volleyball became a state sanctioned sport in Kentucky, Villa Madonna won the 1980 state tournament and finished 39-2 under coach Carla Austin.
The Villa Madonna roster included four girls who played for the NCAA Division I volleyball programs – Lori Erpenbeck (Kentucky), Stephanie Scheper (Tennessee), Fredda Simpson (Kentucky) and Lisa Warman (State of Florida).
A complete list of new inductees is available on the website Buddy LaRosa High School Hall of Fame website.
Cooper graduate has double-digit 11-1 varsity scoring average
Cooper graduate Sean McNeil is the second-highest scorer for the West Virginia men’s basketball team, which will be 11-1 in its first Big 12 Conference game in Texas (10-2 ) which is scheduled for noon on New Years Day and will be televised nationally on ESPNU.
The senior goaltender is averaging 14 points per game for the Mountaineers. He’s been a double-digit scorer in 10 of his team’s 12 games and shared Big 12 Player of the Week honors for scoring a high of 23 points in a win over Youngstown State last Saturday.
McNeil is also averaging 2.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in his third season in West Virginia. He received a scholarship after averaging 29.7 points for Sullivan Community College in Ohio to win All-America First Team honors in Division II of the National Junior College Athletic Association.