|Ladybirds, Bluebirds drop contests|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Jenna Martin puts up a free throw in a recent game. Martin scored 12 points in the losing effort against Simon Kenton on Monday.|
The Simon Kenton Lady Pioneers came to Fort Thomas on Monday listing 10 players on the roster standing at that height and taller and took full advantage of it in a 73-30 domination. The Lady Pioneers (22-5 overall) held Highlands (19-8) to just 10-of-44 from the field including 5-of-20 from three-point range for 25 percent and 5-of-8 free throws for 63 percent.
The home team had won the previous six meetings dating back to a 48-45 Highlands win in Independence on Feb. 19, 2010 during the senior seasons of Katie Allen, Bekah Towles and Hope Cutter.
Highlands could not make the usual passes and cuts to the basket it has all season. The Ladybirds had also been able to take advantage of things when defenses key on either senior Jenna Martin or sophomore Zoie Barth. But that was not the case in this game. Martin sprang free for some open looks early on her way to a team-high 12 points. But Simon Kenton held Barth to four points and five rebounds.
Simon Kenton saw 10 different players score in the win. The Ladybirds had to key on senior 6-2 center Madi Meier down low. The opened things up for junior 5-8 standout Ally Niece. Niece made 11-of-12 free throws on her way to 26 points and grabbed six rebounds to go with three assists and a steal. Freshman guard Maggie Jones followed with 15 points.
"Simon Kenton is a well-coached team," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "How tall they are really bothered us. We got out of our system and they really took advantage of it."
Simon Kenton made 31-of-48 shots for 65 percent including 6-of-16 three-point tries for 38 percent and 5-of-6 free throws for 83 percent. The Lady Pioneers won the rebounding battle, 29-23.
"We want to establish the inside with Meier," said Jeffrey Stowers, Simon Kenton Head Coach. "If we can get the ball inside and get her rolling, we'll go there until they stop it. Other than that, we always tell our girls sometimes it's an inside game with the bigs and sometimes, it's a guard-oriented game. It was more guard-oriented for us (Monday)."
Martin hit her second three-pointer with 3:10 left in the first quarter. But Simon Kenton finished the quarter with a 15-0 run to go up 23-8 after one and never looked back.
"We told the girls this is why we play Simon Kenton toward the end of the regular season," Richey said. "They're good. They're going to make us do things we're not used to doing and will get us ready for the district and region tournament."
The good news for Highlands is Simon Kenton is in the 8th Region. Therefore, Richey hopes the girls put this one behind them quickly and focus on Beechwood (9-14) on Friday at 6 p.m. in Fort Thomas.
Covington Holy Cross 66, Highlands 50:
Despite their 8-16 record, Highlands Head Coach Kevin Listerman said the Indians had been playing better lately and the Indians proved it in a 9th Region win over the Bluebirds (12-15). The loss drops Highlands to 9-8 in region play.
Senior 6-foot-5-inch post Kyle Finfrock returned to the line-up and led Highlands with 18 points. Junior Jacob Noe had 10. Nolan Schrand led the Indians with 17.
Free throws hurt Highlands. The Bluebirds made just 11-of-18 for 61 percent. Holy Cross hit 16-of-23 for 70 percent.
Highlands plays host to Beechwood (13-12) on Friday. Game time is 8 p.m.