By G. MICHAEL GRAHAM
Fort Thomas Matters Sports Reporter
The Highlands Ladybirds basketball team returned to the win column in a 61-44 victory over the Campbell County Lady Camels on Thursday to open the State Farm Holiday Classic at Conner.
Highlands (7-4) saw eight different players score including three in double-figures. They were Vanessa Fisse with 17 followed by Jesse “Dirt” Daley with 12 and Alex Combs with 10. Fisse made 4-of-6 three-pointers and Daley tied teammate McKenzie Leigh with a team-high five rebounds.
Overall, Highlands made 22-of-42 shots for 52 percent, including 5-of-17 from three-point range for 29 percent, and 12-of-18 free throws for 67 percent. Combs made the other triple for the Ladybirds.
On the other side, Campbell County (4-7) made 13-of-45 shots for 29 percent, including 7-of-24 three-pointers for the same percentage, and 11-of-17 free throws for 65 percent.
Taylor Robinson led the Lady Camels with nine. Campbell County played without senior 6-foot-3-inch center Kaytlin Siegmundt.
Highlands saw injured seniors Leah Schaefer and Emilie Parton return to action. Schaefer scored four points to go with three rebounds, an assist and steal in her first game since Highlands beat Bishop Brossart, 55-51 on Dec. 6. Parton had two rebounds.
Highlands plays twice today to continue the classic. The Ladybirds face defending 9th Region champion Boone County (6-4) at 9 a.m. before taking on Southwestern (7-4) at 4 p.m.
Betsy Layne boys 42, Highlands 35:
The Bluebirds (4-5) opened the Pikeville Invitational Tournament with a loss Thursday.
Luke Turner and Bailey Witte led Highlands with 10 points each.
Highlands faces Harlan County (11-1) in the consolation bracket of the tournament today.
Newport Central Catholic boys 69, Boyd County 62:
The Thoroughbreds stayed unbeaten at 9-0 holding off the Lions to open the 58th Annual Ashland Invitational Tournament on Thursday.
Michael Bueter turned in a huge night for NewCath with 29 points making clutch free throws down the stretch. He made 7-of-8 free throws and two triples for the Thoroughbreds.
Two other NewCath players hit double-digits. They were Drew McDonald with 14 and Jake Schulte with 10. McDonald hit 7-of-11 shots and grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double. NewCath made 53 percent (27-of-51) from the field and 65 percent (13-of-20) from the free-throw line.
Boyd County (6-6) saw two players reach double-digits. They were Austin Hunt with 21 and Todd Stacy with 11. The Lions hit 34 percent (15-of-44) from the field and 69 percent (27-of-39) from the free-throw line.
NewCath takes on Russell (9-3) in the semifinals today.