Story Matters

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Saturday, December 1, 2018

Bluebirds Earn Another 9th Region Road Win

Highlands Moves to 2-0 for First Time since 2012-13 Season

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Highlands senior Ben Sisson blocks a shot against Boone County on Thursday.
The Highlands Bluebirds basketball team had not started 2-0 since the 2012-13 season.

That changed Friday when Highlands ventured to Union and recorded a 58-48 win against its second 9th Region opponent from the 33rd District in as many games. The Bluebirds have won the last three meetings against the Raiders (1-2 overall).

"Ryle is a good ballclub. (The Raiders) have some size. They're very physical," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We knew it was going to be a tough game coming off playing Thursday and having to bounce right back and being at their place. I told the kids I was proud of the fact that even though we struggled shooting the ball, especially early in the game that we didn't panic. We didn't try to do too much. Our kids just stayed with what we were trying to do and we found the places for us to get our inside looks and complementary outside looks. I thought we did a good job of defending and we did a good job on the glass. I was really pleased with the way our kids responded."

Ryle could not contain Highlands senior post Ben Sisson. Sisson had a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds. Sisson made 10-of-13 shots and recorded four blocks and a steal.

"That's something we stress in practice too," said Alex Starkey, Highlands senior. "If you keep missing shots, don't get down. Keep your head up. Keep shooting and be patient. I think any of our starting five and a few of our guys that come in can score 15 points or whatever the case may be."

Six other Bluebirds scored. Senior Ryan Leigh followed with 12 points on three three-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds. Highlands won the rebounding battle, 33-28.

Highlands made 19-of-43 shots for 44 percent including 4-of-14 three-point tries for 27 percent. Ryle hit 19-of-44 shots for 43 percent including 3-of-6 from three-point range for 50 percent.

"If shots aren't falling, you still have to figure out ways to get the ball in the bucket," said Sam Vinson, Highlands sophomore guard. "Our confidence is way up. It says the coaches believe in us if we get called out there to make a play and try to help our team get a win."

Neither team shot free throws exceptionally well. Highlands made 16-of-28 for 57 percent and Ryle hit 7-of-17 for 58 percent. Sophomore guard Gavin Rabe led the Raiders with 21 points.

Highlands plays host to defending state champion Covington Catholic (2-0) on Monday. Game time is 7:30 p.m. Listerman said he hopes for a big crowd in the home opener.

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