The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (5-1 overall) started off the stretch of three straight games against in-county opponents strong with a 75-38 win over the host Dayton Greendevils (1-6) on Tuesday.
Highlands led 27-9 after the first quarter and 46-11 at halftime. The Bluebirds played 14 players. Senior forward Ryan Leigh led the way with 12 points with junior Hunter Ahlfeld and sophomore Luke Muller scoring nine each.
"We talked before the game about how great teams bring focus and energy every single night and we wanted to make sure that we did that," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "Our guys did a fantastic job of getting us out of the gate knocking some shots down early and playing fast. Once we were able to establish our tempo, we took control of the game early and pretty much controlled it from the tip."
Highlands wound up shooting 28-of-46 for 61 percent from the field including 11-of-21 from three-point range for 52 percent and made all eight free-throw attempts. The Bluebirds also had 27 rebounds, 20 assists, four blocked shots and 13 steals.
"We're starting to get really comfortable (with our roles on the team)," said Tristan Thompson, Highlands senior wing. "We just know that whatever they need to do to help the team win, they'll do it. The coaches known they can give us more freedom because we know how we play together."
Dayton made 15-of-46 shots for 33 percent including 5-of-13 from three-point range for 38 percent and all three free throws. Senior Michael Marksberry led the way with 10 points for Dayton.
The Greendevils have lost five in a row. But three of those losses have come by five points or fewer.
"They play hard. (Dayton Head) Coach (Brian) Volpehnheim does a great job down there," Listerman said. "They have a lot of guys who shoot threes. If you catch them on the wrong night and they're knocking them down, you could be in for a long night. Certainly, they've played some people in the (Northern Kentucky Athletic Association) Division III Conference pretty tough. They have some guys that are capable but not necessarily great match-ups for us and we were able to take advantage, especially with our height differential."
Highlands travels to Bishop Brossart on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.