Our third quarterfinal of the evening featured a match up of top 5 opponents as No. 5 Ballard took on No. 3 Covington Catholic. The three-time King of the Bluegrass Champion Bruins got off to a fast start taking an early 9-2 lead. Covington Catholic quickly countered with their own 8-1 run to tie the game at 12-12. A late 3-point basket by AJ Mayer gave Covington Catholic a 17-14 lead and momentum at the quarter break. The Colonels lead doubled to six points in the opening minute of the second quarter. The Bruins cut the lead to a single bucket on three different occasions midway through the quarter but it took them until the final minute of the half before the eventually knotted the score at 30-30. A pair of late free throws by Michael Mayer sent the Colonels to the locker room with a 34-32 lead. Just five minutes into the second half the Covington Catholic lead had ballooned to 10 points. Ballard was able to close the gap to six points in the closing seconds of the third quarter but the Bruins would never get any closer. Two minutes later Ballard found themselves behind by a game-high 13 points. Ballard's defensive pressure forced nine fourth quarter turnovers by Covington Catholic but with the Bruins shooting just 26% in the final quarter they couldn't muster a comeback. With 1:26 Ballard did manage to cut the margin back to six points but the Colonels connected on five straight free throws to end the game with a 71-61 victory. The Colonels advanced to the King of the Bluegrass semifinals for the second straight year. Iowa signee CJ Fredrick led all scorers with 26 points to lead the way for the Colonels. Aiden Ruthsatz added 16 points for Covington Catholic. Ballard was led by the duo of Dorion Tisby and Delonta Wimberly with 16 points apiece.
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