Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Big Win for Ladybirds
The Highlands Ladybirds basketball team (8-2 overall), ranked 17th in the latest BluegrassPreps Top 20 poll, edged the 19th-ranked Nelson County Lady Cards (9-1), 52-51 to open the annual LaRosa's Holiday Classic on Wednesday. Highlands won its seventh in a row and knocked Nelson County from the ranks of unbeaten as a result.
"We told the girls after the game we're very proud of them," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "That was a tough opponent. We took the lead then they came back and took the lead. We panicked for a couple minutes then regained our composure and regained her composure."
The Ladybirds led most of the game including 28-21 at halftime. But Nelson County took the lead in the fourth quarter before Highlands hit its free throws down the stretch to pull out the win. The Ladybirds made 16-of-22 free throws for 73 percent compared to 10-of-13 for 77 percent for the Lady Cards from the 5th Region.
"We told the girls when we took the lead, they had to foul us and we're a good free-throw shooting team so get up to the free-throw line, shoot with confidence and make them," Richey said. "For the most part, we did that."
Highlands saw sophomore Zoie Barth again lead the way with 16 points. She made 4-of-6 shots and 8-of-10 free throws to go with three assists. Senior Emma Little followed with 15 points making 6-of-12 shots including 1-of-3 three-point shots and both free throws.
Highlands senior Jenna Martin did not score in double-digits like usual scoring just eight points. But Martin tied Chloe Jansen with five rebounds and also recorded five assists and three steals.
"It was important as a team for everyone to work together and help each other on the court," Little said. "They guarded Jenna and Zoie very close so the rest of the team had to pick it up and make plays to score."
Nelson County saw three players score in double figures. Guard Shyla Calbert made 5-of-9 three-pointers on her way to 18 points and Marly Walls scored 13 before fouling out with Kira Harman nearly recording a double-double of 12 points and nine rebounds.
Highlands held Le Le Linton to just four points. Linton averaged 10.1 points per game entering the game.
Highlands faced pressure from Nelson County from all over the court. The Ladybirds turned the ball over 12 times yielding six steals while taking the ball away five times on nine Lady Card turnovers.
Highlands does not have any time to rest with another challenge at 1:30 p.m. back at Conner on Thursday. The Ladybirds face the 12th-ranked George Rogers Clark Lady Cardinals (10-1) in another BGP Top 20 battle. GRC handled Dixie Heights, 65-30 in the first game of the tournament.
"They're another team that is going to press us so we have to have other step up and handle the ball besides Jenna and Zoie," Richey said. "We're going to have to handle the pressure, make good decisions and put our teammates in places for them to be successful."
Highlands moved to 14-2 in this classic since the 2011-12 season. The Ladybirds won the tournament last year and in 2012 and finished runner-up in 2013.
Daviess County 64, Highlands 59:
The Bluebirds (3-8) fell in overtime in the first game of the Magnolia Bank Holiday Classic at LaRue County against the Panthers (7-5) from the 3rd Region.
Kyle Finfrock again led Highlands with 24 points and seven rebounds with Griffin Huber scoring 10 points and nabbing four rebounds. Daviess County made 11-of-13 free throws for 85 percent and Highlands hit 3-of-5 for 60 percent.
Highlands takes on the Hart County Raiders (1-7) from the 5th Region on Friday. Game time is 3 p.m.