|Ladybirds escape Lady Rebels for 19th win|
|PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, DWCPhoto.com. Highlands senior Jenna Martin goes in for a score in a recent game. Martin scored 17 points to help Highlands to a 57-48 win over Boone County on Friday.|
Highlands (19-7 overall) pulled away from the visiting Boone County Lady Rebels (7-18) in the last two minutes for a 57-48 9th Region win Friday in Fort Thomas. Highlands moved to 12-2 in region play with its seventh straight win over the Lady Rebels.
Boone County had consistently been in the mix for 9th Region crowns recording 30 straight winning seasons between 1985 and 2015 and an overall record of 686-253 under retired Head Coach Nell Fookes. During that time, Boone County won nine region championships and finished runner-up seven other times. But the Lady Rebels now find themselves on the verge of their second straight losing season with their third head coach in three seasons in Ray Kues, also a former head coach at St. Henry and Bishop Brossart.
The difference in the game came at the free-throw line. Highlands made 13-of-17 for 77 percent compared to 5-of-11 for 46 percent for Boone County. Senior Jenna Martin made 6-of-7 on her way to 17 points and sophomore Zoie Barth hit all four attempts on her way to seven points. Martin added five steals. Barth and sophomore Chloe Jansen led Highlands with three assists each.
The Ladybirds played without senior Lauren Epperson. Sophomore Hannah Buecker and junior Brooke Dill scored 12 and 11 respectively in the winning effort. Highlands made 20-of-47 shots for 43 percent including 4-of-17 from three-point range for 24 percent.
"It was an ugly win," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "Other people had to step up and I thought Brooke (Dill) stepped up and (senior) Rachel Vinson came off the bench and contributed on defense. It's good for the girls to see the hard work they're putting in is paying off and they're really helping Jenna, Zoie and the other girls on the varsity team."
Boone County saw two players score in double figures. Senior guard Zyah Beal hit 9-of-14 shots on her way to 18 points to go with eight rebounds and four steals. Junior guard Maleah Hirn followed with 10 points.
"(Beal) just did a great job of taking the ball to the basket," Richey said. "We had trouble stopping her. She's a good player."
Boone County won the rebounding battle, 29-22. The Lady Rebels also made 20-of-43 shots for 47 percent including 3-of-12 three-point tries for 25 percent.
Highlands plays host to Simon Kenton (20-5) on Monday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Lloyd Memorial 64, Highlands 46:
Highlands (12-14 overall) could not take down the Juggernauts (18-10) for the second time this season. The Bluebirds fell to 9-7 in 9th Region play as a result.
The coaching staff elected not to play senior 6-foot-5-inch post Kyle Finfrock, who sprained his left hand in the win over Ludlow on Monday. Seven different Bluebirds scored led by 10 from Braden Posey and junior Carl Schoellman made 3-of-7 three-point tries for nine points.
Lloyd Memorial saw nine different players score. Senior forward Sterling Hamilton finished with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Juggernauts. Junior forward Jordan Fann followed with nine points.
Lloyd led just 35-30 entering the fourth quarter. But the Juggernauts pulled away with a 29-16 fourth quarter.
"Sterling is a fantastic player," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We didn't do a bad job on him. He was a force in other ways. We knew that coming in he was going to be a tough match-up for us. We did a good job on their other people. He was certainly the best player on the floor (Friday) and he played like it. We just had a tough time handling him. He got a lot of it in the second half, especially when they made their run and blew the game open there early in the fourth quarter."
Lloyd Memorial made 26-of-51 shots for 51 percent including 5-of-17 three-point tries for 29 percent and 7-of-8 free throws for 88 percent. Highlands made 16-of-48 shots for 33 percent including 8-of-22 three-point tries for 36 percent and 6-of-10 free throws for 60 percent.
The Juggernauts won the rebounding battle, 34-28. Senior Mogan Race led the Bluebirds with eight rebounds.
"We got some pretty good looks. We just didn't stick them," Listerman said. "Our offensive rebounding was down a little bit. But the effort we got out of Morgan Race was fantastic. We got really good minutes out of (sophomore) Ben (Sisson), (freshman) Isaac (Salter) and our young guys there inside so they got an opportunity to play and they got a really good taste of what it's going to take for us to be tough down the stretch. Certainly, we missed Kyle. It's a chance to help us grow and hopefully make us better before we get to the district tournament."
Highlands faces Covington Holy Cross (6-16) on Monday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Ladybirds lose in state first round:
The Highlands Ladybirds shot an 1,102 to pick up the fourth seed in the state tournament. But 13th-seeded Louisville Mercy edged Highlands, 3-2 (144-182, 179-170, 176-160, 161-213, 168-147) in the opening round of the state tournament. Central Hardin captured the team title.
Highlands had a Top-10 finishers in the boys individual state tournament and the first-ever Unified Tournament. Hunter Kolb finished sixth shooting a 1,086 total in the boys individual state tournament and the team of Parker Thomas and Maddie Shelton finished state runner-up in the Unified Tournament losing 191-169 to a team from Louisville Southern. They beat teams from Rowan County (114-106), Daviess County (160-133) and Meade County (140-93) to advance to the title game.