|Highlands Swimming Teams Wins Combined Crown at EKU Relays|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Highlands Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey goes over plays in a timeout Saturday at Newport. Highlands beat Grant County, 70-36 to move to 4-0.|
Highlands (4-0 overall) used it to cruise to a convincing 70-36 non-region victory. The Bluebirds led 45-20 at halftime.
"Our game plan was to outrun them," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "The girls did a great job and made them do things they were uncomfortable with. We knew they had three lefties so we had to force them to the right and they did a great job of that."
Grant County (2-2) had three players averaging double digits in scoring entering the game. Senior guard Bryann Ezell led the way averaging 16 points per game with junior guard Abby West averaging 14.7 and senior guard Alecea Homer averaging 10.3. Highlands held Ezell scoreless with West scoring just three points and Homer one. Sophomore guard Lyric Ingguls led the Lady Braves with seven points.
Richey credited Highlands for rebounding and taking advantage of fast-break opportunities. The Bluebirds won that battle, 32-29.
The Bluebirds wound up shooting 20-for-50 from the field for 40 percent including 6-of-22 from three-point range for 27 percent and made 24-of-32 free throws for 75 percent. Grant County made 11-of-40 shots for 28 percent including 5-of-20 from three-point range for 25 percent and 9-of-14 free throws for 64 percent.
Senior guard Zoie Barth again led Highlands with 15 points making three three-pointers and all six free throws to go with six rebounds, three assists and four steals. Senior post Hanna Buecker scored 12 points making 4-of-6 shots including one three-pointer and 3-of-4 free throws. Senior guard Chloe Jansen added six rebounds, four assists and four steals to go with seven points.
"A lot of the credit goes to the seniors in Zoie, Chloe, Hanna and Ashley (Hayes)," Richey said. "They've been with us for four years. They know we can't take any opponent lightly. We're just gearing up. We came out and played well. They're going to continue to do that because they have great leadership."
Highlands recorded 18 steals off 21 Grant County turnovers while yielding eight steals on 11 turnovers. Junior guard Piper Macke and freshman guard Anna Greenwell added three steals each.
All 15 players saw action with the game out of hand in the second half. Greenwell scored seven points.
"It's really fun playing with upperclassmen and experience all the techniques they use that I can use in my game," Greenwell said. "They teach the underclassmen a lot. It's a real confidence booster."
The Bluebirds play host to Covington Holy Cross (3-2) on Monday in Fort Thomas. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Highlands Wins Combined Championships:
The Bluebirds opened the season with a combined swimming crown. The diving teams did not partake in this meet.
Highlands travels to Cincinnati (Ohio) Anderson on Saturday in a tri-meet. The Covington Catholic boys and Seton girls will also be there. The meet starts at 2 p.m.
Oldham County 58, Highlands 54:
Highlands (4-1) came back and led 38-37 entering the fourth quarter against the Colonels (4-0) but could not pull off the road win against a state semifinalist from last season.
The Bluebirds again saw senior post Ben Sisson lead the way with 18 points making 7-of-8 shots to go with six rebounds and two blocked shots. Senior Tristan Thompson came off the bench to score 10 points.
Highlands made 21-of-44 shots for 48 percent including 3-of-9 from three-point range for 33 percent and 9-of-16 free throws for 56 percent. Oldham County hit 19-of-53 shots for 36 percent including 3-of-9 three-point tries for 33 percent and 17-of-25 free throws for 68 percent.
The Bluebirds won the rebounding battle, 33-30. They had 13 turnovers to 10 for the Colonels. Seniors Matthew Teague and Christian Harper scored 17 and 16 points respectively to lead Oldham County.
Highlands travels to Dayton on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.