Saturday, January 28, 2017
Victories for Highlands Basketball
The Highlands Bluebirds basketball team (10-12 overall) took care of that goal with a huge 79-61 victory over the Bellevue Tigers (6-14) on Friday in Fort Thomas. Bellevue had beaten Highlands in each of the past two seasons to push the Bluebirds down to the fourth seed. The Bluebirds finished 3-1 in district action and will be the second seed in the district tournament if Newport Central Catholic wins either of its final two district games against Bellevue and Dayton. The Bluebirds also moved to 7-5 in 9th Region action and Bellevue dropped to 0-3 in district play.
"It feels really good to be 3-1 in the district," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "Obviously, if things pan out, we will play Newport in the (36th District semifinals). That's no easy task. They're really talented. But I'd rather be in the 2-3 game than the 4-5 game. Our kids have earned that seed and they're excited about that."
The Bluebirds beat Dayton in the first round the last two years before losing to eight-time district champion Newport Central Catholic in the semifinals to end its season. Highlands took the third seed in 2013 beating Newport in the district semifinals the last year the Bluebirds made it to the 9th Region Tournament. This also marks the first time Highlands has recorded double-digit wins since going 12-16 during the 2012-13 season.
Highlands displayed the scoring balance Listerman and staff hope to see more of on a nightly basis. Guards Bryce Traylor and and Jacob Noe made five three-pointers each combining to go 10-of-17 from beyond the arc on their way to 21 points each.
The Bluebirds needed that because Bellevue drew up a major game plan to stop post Kyle Finfrock in the paint. The Tigers threw 1-3-1, 2-3 and Triangle-and-2 zones at Highlands.
"Bryce and Jacob really got great looks," Listerman said. "The best thing is we were patient in finding those looks. They didn't force them. Carl Schoellman was the same way so we did a great job of understanding how to attack their zone. We found our shooters and they knocked them down. That was huge because it opens things up inside for Kyle."
But the Bluebirds made 12-of-27 three-point shots for 44 percent and 28-of-59 shots for 47 percent overall. They also hit 11-of-13 free throws for 85 percent.
Highlands saw nine different players score. Listerman credited senior Morgan Race for coming off the bench and recording six points and seven rebounds.
Bellevue made 23-of-51 shots for 45 percent including 8-of-21 from three-point range for 38 percent. The Tigers also made 9-of-14 free throws for 64 percent.
Highlands finishes the season with six region games. The Bluebirds take on Covington Catholic (19-4) on Monday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Highlands 66, St. Henry 50:
The Ladybirds (15-6) put together a better defensive effort up in the second half to pull away from the Lady Crusaders (8-12) in a 9th Region road win. Highlands has won six straight against St. Henry.
St. Henry led 31-29 at halftime. But Highlands pulled away with a 23-11 third quarter to go up 52-42 entering the fourth quarter.
The Ladybirds saw Jenna Martin make 5-of-10 three-point tries on her way to 27 points and Zoie Barth make 6-of-13 shots on her way to 15 points. Barth had six steals, two assists, three rebounds and a blocked shot with Martin putting up three rebounds, three steals and two assists.
"Once we got the girls that we talked about in foul trouble, we wanted to get to the paint and score," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "I felt in the second quarter, Zoie did a good job of that. Defensively, we struggled in the first half. That's why it was so close. In the second half, we started playing our defense. We were able to get some steals and convert them to points."
Sophomore Hannah Buecker also had a nice game for Highlands. Buecker recorded nine points making all four free throws and four steals.
Highlands made 21-of-49 shots for 43 percent including 7-of-22 three-point tries for 32 percent and 17-of-21 free throws for 81 percent. St. Henry hit 19-of-45 shots for 42 percent including 2-of-16 from three-point land for 13 percent and 10-of-13 free throws for 77 percent.
The Ladybirds recorded 14 steals off 17 Lady Crusader turnovers and yielded just 11 turnovers on six St. Henry steals. Highlands also won the rebounding battle, 27-23. Senior Lauren Epperson led the way with six.
St. Henry saw two players score in double figures. Sophomore Chisom Iloegbunam led the way with 15 and senior Paige Noble scored 10.
Highlands travels to Madison Central (16-6) on Saturday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.