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Friday, December 23, 2016

Victories before Christmas

Highlands records 9th Region wins

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Former Highlands Ladybirds basketball players received recognition Thursday.
Two district wins during the regular season often mean avoiding the four-five seed elimination game in the 36th District Tournament in late February.

With two district games remaining, the Highlands Ladybirds (6-2 overall) took that big step with a 54-33 win over the visiting Bellevue Lady Tigers (5-4) on Thursday. Highlands moved to 2-0 in district action and 3-0 in 9th Region play.

Highlands jumped out to a 21-7 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. That lead increased to as much as 23 points.

Highlands made 22-of-58 shots for 38 percent including 3-of-18 from three-point range. The Ladybirds also made 7-of-11 free throws for 64 percent.

Highlands also had 15 assists, nine steals and just 10 turnovers. Bellevue had 19 turnovers and six steals.

Highlands guards Jenna Martin and Zoie Barth continued their consistent play with 14 and 11 points respectively. Barth had eight assists.

Senior Lauren Epperson also had a good game for Highlands. Epperson recorded six points, an assist, two blocked shots and a steal.

Bellevue senior guard Courtney Schmits hit the 1,000-point mark for her career with 13 points to lead the Lady Tigers. Bellevue made 11-of-34 shots for 32 percent including 1-of-7 from three-point range for 14 percent and 10-of-22 free throws for 46 percent.

Highlands travels to Ludlow (3-5) on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

Basketball, Boys:
Highlands 67, Lloyd Memorial 62:

The Bluebirds (3-6) rallied past the Juggernauts (6-3) in the consolation round of the Simon Kenton Invitational.

Highlands trailed 25-17 after the first quarter. But the Bluebirds outscored the Juggernauts, 19-6 in the second quarter to go up 36-31 at halftime. Highlands switched to a 2-3 match-up zone defense.

"We got (Lloyd) to miss shots," Listerman said. "We got tremendous minutes out of Morgan Race, Robby Gabbard and Luke LaFrange in that stretch. Our bench played huge minutes and really flipped the game. We were able to get some rebounds and transition buckets. Luke LaFrange hit a huge three to stretch out lead to five at halftime. We really relaxed after that point, played solid and finished the game out."

The Bluebirds received excellent play from the outside. Junior Braden Posey scored 23 points and recorded six rebounds and four assists. Senior Bryce Traylor followed with 12 and LaFrange had 11 points and five rebounds. Gabbard added seven points and three assists.

"(Posey) did a great job of getting down the lane and making some fantastic decisions," Listerman said. "We have some weapons on offense that can put the ball in the basket. I think we're starting to figure ourselves out."

Listerman said that balance will be needed as teams figure out how to defend senior Kyle Finfrock in the paint. Finfrock finished with six points and three rebounds.

"Our guards have to move the ball and hit our open shots," Gabbard said. "When Kyle is open, we have to find him. (Good decisions) are more in a flow of the offense. What Coach (Listerman) teaches us in the off-season is to make decisions that are best for the team."

Senior forward Sterling Hamilton led Lloyd Memorial with 17 points. Teammate Devin McClendon followed with 15.

Highlands made 13-of-21 free throws for 62 percent. Lloyd Memorial made all six attempts.

Highlands finishes the Simon Kenton Invitational against Scott (6-3) on Friday. Game time is 3:45 p.m.

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