|Highlands hoops squads win 9th Region battles|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands junior Braden Posey makes a move in a recent game. Highlands downed Conner, 69-58 for its fourth win in five games Tuesday.|
It may have worked some, but the Highlands Bluebirds (7-9 overall) countered it better with its consistent inside attack with 6-foot-5-inch senior Kyle Finfrock and created outside shots on the way to a 69-58 victory over the Conner Cougars (7-7) on Tuesday in 9th Region action. Highlands moved above .500 in region play at 4-3 overall with its second straight win and fourth in the last five games.
Finfrock again used hits strength and athleticism to tally 25 points, two blocked shots and eight rebounds. He recorded three and-one's consistently attacking the basket.
"A lot of the offense revolves around me and I know that, but if I can make the people around me better, that's what I'm going to do," Finfrock said. "We have upperclassmen and underclassmen doing their roles the best they can and we're starting to win games."
Conner tried to put more guys near Finfrock when he drove to the rim. But they could not do that consistently because it left open the outside shooters. Junior Jacob Noe made three three-pointers on his way to 11 points and senior Bryce Traylor duplicated that point total making two triples and all three free throws. Traylor added two assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
"We have some guys who can shoot it a bit," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We're just getting contributions from a lot of guys and that's what makes it fun."
Conner saw two players score in double figures. Travis Connley led the way with 16 points and Spencer Hemmerich followed with 14. Hemmerich came in averaging 21.2 points per game.
Highlands junior Griffin Huber helped contain Hemmerich. Huber did not score. But he dished off six assists with junior point guard Braden Posey recording five assists, two steals and three points. But Posey's lone bucket came at a crucial moment. Up just five, Posey recorded a steal at halfcourt then took it in for the lay-up just before the buzzer giving Highlands a 49-42 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"We knew we had to really sit down and guard those guys," Listerman said. "Coach (Matthew) Otte does a great job playing to his kids' strengths, especially down the lane. We did a good job making them work for everything they got."
Highlands also received huge lifts from senior Bradley Greene and Luke LaFrange off the bench. Greene finished with eight points and four assists and LaFrange came in and scored all seven of his points in the fourth quarter. LaFrange also helped guard Hemmerich.
Highlands came out strong and never looked back. After a Conner score, the Bluebirds went on a 10-0 run and never tailed again. They led 25-9 after the first quarter and 35-28 at halftime.
Highlands faces another 33rd District opponent on Thursday in Union. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Highlands 57, Notre Dame 45:
The Ladybirds (11-4 overall) took care of business in another 9th Region rivalry game Tuesday. They moved to 6-0 in region action.
Sophomore Zoie Barth hit 8-of-10 free throws on her way to 17 points for Highlands and senior Jenna Martin hit all seven attempts on her way to 16 points. The third double-digit scorer came from sophomore guard Chloe Jansen with 12 points. Barth had three assists and two steals with Martin recording four steals and two assists.
Highlands grabbed 26 rebounds to Notre Dame's 29. But only three Panda rebounds came on the offensive glass. Lauren Epperson and Jansen led the Ladybirds with six rebounds each.
Highlands made 15-of-45 shots for 33 percent including 7-of-20 from three-point range for 35 percent and 20-of-24 free throws for 83 percent. Notre Dame (5-10) made 15-of-36 shots for 42 percent including 3-of-14 from three-point range for 21 percent and 12-of-20 free throws for 60 percent.
"Brooke Dill came off the bench and gave us great energy and helped on the boards," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "The free throws were great again."
Notre Dame saw two players reach double figures. Allison Gribben led the way with 13 points and eight rebounds and Abbey Tierney scored 11.
Highlands returns to Fort Thomas on Thursday against Mason County (11-2). Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Gabbard out for season:
Highlands 5-foot-6-inch guard Macy Gabbard is out for the season after tearing her right Anterior Cruciated Ligament and Medial Collateral Ligament in the season-opening loss at Louisville Sacred Heart. Those are two of four major ligaments that hold the knee joint together.
Replays show Gabbard tried to go out to guard a Sacred Heart player near the right wing and her right leg turned in a bad direction resulting in the injury. But Gabbard has been on the bench in recent games with a right knee brace supporting her teammates.
"I've been going to every practice still and all the games," Gabbard said. "I sit on the bench and just cheer and support my team through everything. (Richey) even calls me Coach Macy sometimes. I just do whatever she needs me to do. I try to be an example to the younger kids that even if you can't play, you can still play a role on the team."
Gabbard is one of six seniors on the team. Her cousin Robby Gabbard also plays guard for the Bluebirds.