Story Matters

Story Matters

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Monday, December 31, 2018

Tough Saturday for Highlands Hoops Squads

Bluebird Boys to Play for Third Place in Florida Tournament

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Chloe Jansen (34) looks to make a pass against Conner on Saturday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team stood 47 seconds from another huge victory after senior guard Chloe Jansen made two critical free throws.

Highlands (11-3) led 46-41 at that point against the host Conner Lady Cougars (13-1) in the championship game of the LaRosa's Holiday Classic. But the Bluebirds could not hold onto the lead as Conner tied it with two seconds left and outscored Highlands, 8-0 in overtime to win the game by a 54-46 score.

Conner has won four in a row in the series including all three meetings last year. Conner beat Highlands by the same score in the 9th Region Quarterfinals last year before losing 55-43 to Covington Holmes in the region semifinals. Highlands last beat Conner, 54-36 on Dec. 13, 2016.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Highlands Hoops Teams Advance in Holiday Tournaments

Highlands Girls Face Conner for Tournament Championship

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Highlands senior guard Zoie Barth (10) puts up a floater against Owensboro Catholic in the LaRosa's Holiday Classic semifinals on Friday.
When it came to clutch time, the Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (11-2 overall) came through to knock off a defending region champion in the LaRosa's Holiday Classic on Friday.

The Bluebirds found themselves tied 29-29 with the Owensboro Catholic Lady Aces (8-4) in the semifinals of the winner's bracket entering the fourth quarter. But Highlands took the lead for good with five minutes left at 34-31 when senior Hanna Buecker made a three-pointer and won the final quarter 12-4 on its way to a 41-33 victory.

"We were down, but we found a way," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We got some defensive stops and made some shots when we had to. We talked at halftime about knowing where their shooters are and making sure we rebounded. We made some adjustments on defense. I'm very proud of the girls for coming out in the second half and defending like we did."

Friday, December 28, 2018

Highlands Hoops Squad Record Wins in First Post-Christmas Games

Bluebird Boys Take Down Alabama Team

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Meghan Walz watches after a Henry Clay shot Thursday at Conner.
Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey said the main players in the rotation did not receive much rest in the four games in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic.

Thus, it was nice to give them some down time for most of the second half Thursday to open the LaRosa's Holiday Classic at Conner. Highlands (10-2 overall) built a 45-18 halftime lead against the Lexington Henry Clay Blue Devils (6-6) and cruised to a 76-47 victory.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Bluebirds Fall Short in LexCath Tournament Final

Lady Lions Hold on for Holiday Tournament Title

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Piper Macke (1) turns after passing the ball to sophomore teammate Kenzie Nehus (3) while Boyd County sophomore Harley Paynter (14) gets in position in the championship of the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic at Lexington Catholic on Sunday. Boyd County edged Highlands for the title, 61-59.
The same strategy that helped the Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (9-2 overall) make it to the championship game of the prestigious holiday classic almost helped the Bluebirds win it.

Highlands had its chances against the Boyd County Lady Lions (10-1) Sunday evening at Lexington Catholic in the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic. But Highlands came up short in a 61-59 defeat.

Highlands beat two preseason Top 25 teams to make it to earn four games in the tournament in Lincoln County and Louisville Butler. The Bluebirds then beat Simon Kenton in the semifinals.

"We have great senior leadership," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We do the small things. We're usually smarter than we were on the court (Sunday) and that affected us. We came down and not a lot people thought we'd beat Lincoln County then not a lot of people thought we'd beat Butler. I don't think anybody had us going to the finals so I'm proud of the grit we showed. We had three wins in 25 hours so that's a big accomplishment for these girls. It gave girls who have never been in a game like this experience, which was good." 

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Saturday Highlands Hoops Round-up: Bluebird Girls Win Twice

Highlands Boys Fall to Ohio Opponent

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Will Salmon (25) sets up to take a free throw against Hamilton (Ohio) on Saturday. Salmon scored 12 points in the 76-65 Bluebird loss.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (9-1 overall) knew a win in the first game meant an additional game that night.

A second win meant playing for the holiday tournament championship in a 16-team field that featured the state champion, state runner-up, a semifinalist from last season and the team that handed the Bluebirds their lone loss of the season. Highlands accomplished both beating Louisville Butler, 43-30 Saturday afternoon and Simon Kenton, 47-41 in the evening earning the right to play for the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic championship on Sunday at 6:15 p.m. Highlands takes on the Boyd County Lady Lions (9-1) for that crown.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Highlands Takes Down Lincoln County

Bluebirds Move to 7-1 on Season

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Chloe Jansen shoots a free throw while Kenzie Nehus (3) gets in position in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (7-1 overall) started the Traditional Bank Holiday Classic with a nice win.

Highlands knocked off the Lincoln County Lady Patriots (4-2) by a 59-48 count. Lincoln County entered the season potentially challenging for the 12th Region crown.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Highlands Bounces Back in Big Way

Bluebirds Dominate Make-Up Game

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Ashley Hayes gets in position after making a pass in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (6-1 overall) bounced back from its first loss of the season Tuesday with a convincing win in a non-region make-up game.

Highlands handled the Scott Lady Eagles (3-5) by a 75-46 count. The two teams were scheduled to meet on Nov. 27 to open the season. But bad weather forced the game's postponement.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Newport Escapes Highlands, 66-64

Harding's Free Throws Propel Wildcats to Crucial 36th District Win

PHOTO: Dale Dawn. Highlands senior Ben Sisson (30) goes up between two Newport defenders including Tahj Harding (32) in the 36th District battle Monday. Newport won 66-64.
 The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team did not have as much trouble defending the athleticism of the Newport Wildcats as has been the case in the past.

In fact, Highlands created mismatches of its own there. That let the Bluebirds rally from down down nine in the middle of the fourth quarter and have a chance to win it at the end. But Newport etched out a thrilling 66-64 win in Fort Thomas on Monday in 36th District action.

"We showed a lot of resiliency, a lot of toughness. That's a credit to our kids in just staying with the process," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We didn't get the result that we wanted. But we did a lot of good things, especially down the stretch, to give ourselves an opportunity to win the game. I told the kids after they beat Covington Catholic one game is not a season-make and this is the same type of thing. You're going to go through a season where you'll win a couple close one and lose a couple close ones. The key is to continue to grow, get better and be at our best when we get to tournament time."

With less than five seconds left in the game after a Highlands missed free throw, Newport senior forward Tahj Harding dribbled hard up-court toward the hoop. He drew a foul inside the three-point line and made both with .4 seconds left to lift the Wildcats (6-1 overall, 2-0 district) to victory. Highlands is 6-2 overall and 1-1 in district play.

"There during the timeout, we were trying to get Tahj Harding or (senior guard) Donnie Miller the ball so they are at the free throw line," said Rodney Snapp, Newport Head Coach. "They're three-year starters. They should be comfortable in those situations. Those are guys we want to shoot free throws in a tight game."

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Friday Basketball Round-Up

Highlands Girls Lose First of Season; Boys Beat In-County Rival

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Zoie Barth (middle) sets up on an in-bounds play against Ryle on Friday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team knew this game would show how it matched up against the defending 9th Region champions at this point of the season.

In a battle of undefeated teams, the Ryle Lady Raiders (6-0 overall) left Fort Thomas with a 58-41 win over the Bluebirds (5-1) on Friday. Highlands and Conner both came into the season as the two main challengers to Ryle and the Lady Raiders beat both on consecutive Fridays on the road.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Highlands Cruises to Win in 36th District Opener

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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Bluebirds Take Care of Holy Cross

Highlands Moves to 5-0 Heading into Battle with Ryle

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Naya Figg looks to make a move in a recent practice.
The Covington Holy Cross Indians had been somewhat of an arch-nemesis for the Highlands Bluebirds in recent years.

Since a 43-39 Highlands overtime win on Dec. 9, 2013 in Fort Thomas, Holy Cross had won four of the previous five meetings with the lone Bluebird win coming 52-44 in the 9th Region Tournament quarterfinals in 2016. Last year's meeting was cancelled because of weather and not made up.

But Monday's meeting went in favor of the Bluebirds in an 83-62 9th Region win. Highlands stayed undefeated at 5-0 and moved to 3-0 in region play and Holy Cross fell to 4-3 and 1-2.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Saturday Round-Up: Highlands Girls Move to 4-0 with Convincing Win

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.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team knew it had a huge advantage in the depth department one through 15 entering Saturday's game in the Donna Murphy Classic at Newport against the Grant County Lady Braves.

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."

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Highlands Downs St. Henry to move to 4-0

Senior Nate Roberts said the Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team players could not let the huge win over Covington Catholic on Monday get into their heads in order to move forward.

The St. Henry Crusaders (1-4 overall) came to Fort Thomas off their first win, 64-50 over the Ryle Raiders on Thursday in Union. Veteran Head Coach Dave Faust's teams usually play hard even when they don't necessarily match up well with opponents. That was again the case Friday in a 9th Region contest.

"When you play a Coach Faust team, you know you're going to get their best effort every single night," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "It's one of the hallmarks of his teams. I told our guys leading up to (Friday) and in the locker room before the game that we had to match their intensity and couldn't get out-efforted. We couldn't allow them to bring more energy and more focus than us. I thought our guys did a very good job of staying in the moment and matching their intensity. We got the ball in the right places at the right times and were pretty successful."

But the Bluebirds pulled away for a fourth region win in as many games in a 76-60 win Friday. Highlands last started 4-0 in the 2009-2010 season.

"Coach (Listerman) has been preaching to us every day that one game is not a season-make," said Austin King, Highlands senior forward. "I think we had a great week of practice. I'm sure everyone can agree. Certainly when you get a win like that, you definitely have to celebrate it and cherish it that night. But once the next day hits, you have to get back to work. We all emphasized that this week. It's about repetition. We trust everything we do in practice. The coaches know each and every position to put each one of us and we just all buy into that and trust everyone on the team. That's how our successes have come."

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Highlands Dominates 36th District Opener

Twelve players scored in the convincing 36th District opening win for the Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (3-0 overall) Tuesday.

Highlands jumped out to a 26-5 advantage after one period, stretched it to 43-11 at halftime and wound up winning 64-25 over the host Dayton Lady Devils (1-3). The Bluebirds have won 25 straight against district opponents.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Highlands Girls Move to 2-0

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team had not won its annual game in the Hoops for Harvest Classic at Dixie Heights the previous two years against out-of-state opponents.

That changed Saturday as the Bluebirds moved to 2-0 on the season with a 60-44 win over the New Carlisle (Ohio) Tecumseh Arrows. Tecumseh is located north of Dayton, Ohio. Highlands led 23-18 at halftime before pulling away in the second half.

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).

Friday, November 30, 2018

Highlands Basketball Teams Open with Victories

Bluebirds Handle Rebels on Road

G. Michael Graham Photo. The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball stands for the National An.them at Boone County on Thursday. Highlands recorded a convincing 77-28 win to open the season
The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team gave the supporters who ventured to Florence for the season opener against the Boone County Rebels (0-2 overall) a lot to to look forward to this year if this level of play keeps up.

From the opening tip, the Bluebirds controlled all aspects of the game offensively and defensively. Highlands recorded the most lopsided victory since Kevin Listerman became head coach in 2013 with a 77-28 9th Region victory.

"Our kids have put in a great deal of effort and they have a lot of confidence in each other," Listerman said. "They want to win as a group and that's what is really special about them in terms of their unselfishness. Even though it's been short with the (football) guys, it's been a great start to practice and it carried over. We talked about playing with effort and focus and we did that, especially through the first three quarters."

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Season Opener Cancelled

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team had Scott on its schedule to open the season. But bad weather forced the postponement of the game.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Highlands Fought Back to 10 Victories This Year

Bluebirds Last Had 10-plus Wins in 2014

PHOTO: Bob Jackson. Highlands senior Cooper Schwalbach (5) runs onto the field before the game with senior wide receiver Logan Guy (4) holding the United States flag. Schwalbach finished the season rushing for more than 900 yards.
The ending was painful no doubt.

This program ranked second in the country in all-time wins at 895-252-26 hates losing, period. A 36-0 shut-out loss to the arch-rival and defending Class 5A state champion Covington Catholic Colonels on the road in the region championship added to that frustration.

While they were not able to take down the Colonels in either meeting, this Highlands Bluebirds football team righted the ship and put the program back on the map. The Bluebirds were consistently ranked in the top five in the Associated Press poll and finished fourth in the final one.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

2018-19 Highlands Bowling Preview

Highlands Returns Nice Mixture of Experience, Youth

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Gunner Gabbard sets up to bowl at a recent practice. Gabbard is a key returning bowler for the Bluebirds.
PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior Erin Parrott returns after helping the Bluebirds to the Region 5 championship last year.
A year ago, the Highlands bowling teams saw a new individual bar raised.

Andy Campbell, who graduated in the spring, brought home the first individual boys state championship. Campbell bowled 1,107 in five qualifying games pulling away from second-seed Jacob Rowan of Louisville DuPont Manual by 84 pins to earn a bye into the championship match. Campbell then defeated Rowan, 229-119 in the title match.

Campbell practiced every scenario before going down to the state tournament at Executive Strike and Spare in Louisville and won it despite what Highlands Head Coach Glenn Schmidt described as Taj Mahal challenge conditions. Campbell served as an exception to the rule that state scores were down compared to prior years when Lexington's Collins Eastland.

"You know what you're up against when you get up against the conditions that the state is putting out," Schmidt said. "Therefore, you have to understand that everybody is shooting in the same type of conditions. It becomes a level playing field at that point. You just have to make the right adjustments and do the right thing and that's part of what my coaching is."

Both sides saw two key bowlers graduate. Hunter Kolb also graduated for the Highlands boys, who lost to Simon Kenton in the Region 5 Tournament. The Highlands girls graduated Kate Schneider and Tessa Woody from the Region 5 Tournament championship team.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Highlands-Madison Southern Sidebar

Highlands Reserves Take Advantage of Playoff Atmosphere

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Carter Crawford (7) makes a move in the fourth quarter.
A number of starters and reserves had not played in a playoff game for the Highlands Bluebirds before. But that changed Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium when the Bluebirds beat Madison Southern, 36-7 to open the Class 5A playoffs.

Sophomores Jason Noe at defensive back and running back Joe Buten were two regular contributors to see their first varsity playoff game. Buten had a touchdown run and Noe had some key tackles. Highlands Offensive Coordinator Zach Deaton said the nerves are generally gone a matter of minutes into the game. Highlands Head Coach Brian Weinrich and staff generally save the regulars once games become lopsided.

"We just have to listen to Coach Weinrich," Noe said. "It's pretty crazy to be where we are right now. It's a good feeling. I definitely get comfortable everygame after a couple plays."

Sophomore linebacker Andrew Arentsen saw action in the second half. He's received some varsity experience in the last couple weeks.

"I'm hoping to play a lot of varsity next year so I'm getting a feel for the flow, making plays and having fun," Arentsen said. "The coaches say it a lot. Trust your guys next to you, read your keys and fly around."

Junior offensive lineman Preston McAlpin blocked for the likes of junior quarterback Collin Hollingsworth and junior running back Tyler Brune in the second half. The Bluebirds put up 377 yards of total offense.

"It's amazing because everyone in the audience is watching," McAlpin said. "It just puts you in that moment. When you do get on the field, you have that feeling of not letting people in the stands down because they are counting on you."

Highlands had some injured players helping out on the sidelines. One was senior wide receiver Tyler Bracken. He tore his right Anterior Cruciated Ligament in the off-season and has not been able to play this year.

"I love coming out to support the guys," Bracken said. "Even though I can't be on the field, it's really fun just being out here with them. I always try to help out someone in need. If I see something that one of them might be doing wrong or could be doing better, I'll make my best effort to help them out."

Class 5A Playoff Notes:

There were no major upsets in Region 3 on Friday where two of the three undefeated teams remain. Highlands plays District 6 champion Anderson County (10-0) on Friday in Lawrenceburg after the Bearcats received a bye into the second round. District 5 has had just two teams this season and last season after the KHSAA allowed Grant County to drop out of district play.

Covington Catholic (11-0) extended the state's longest winning streak to 26 in a row with a 49-0 convincing win over the Woodford County Yellow Jackets (2-9). CovCath will play host to the Montgomery County Indians (9-2) Friday, who held off Dixie Heights (1-10) by a 35-28 score in Mount Sterling.

The other undefeated team in Class 5A is South Warren (11-0). The Spartans beat Owensboro Apollo, 48-0 to open the playoffs.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Saturday Sports Notes

Highlands Cross Country Runs Well in Region Race; JV Football Season Concludes

Submitted Photo. The Highlands girls cross country team won its seventh straight Class 2A, Region 4 Meet on Saturday at Sherman Elementary in Dry Ridge.
Submitted Photo. The Highlands boys cross country team finished second in the Class 2A, Region 4 Meet on Saturday.
 Add another banner Class 2A, Region 4 Meet to the the long list of achievements in the history of the Highlands Bluebirds Cross Country teams.

The Highlands girls won a seventh straight region championship and the boys finished runner-up qualifying for the state meet at Kentucky Horse Park next weekend. The meet took place at Sherman Elementary in Dry Ridge.

Highlands-Boone County Sidebar

Bluebirds Celebrate Senior Night

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior running back Tyler Brune (20) looks for running room in the fourth quarter against Boone County on Friday while junior offensive lineman Jackson Bibb (60) looks to block.
On Friday, the Highlands Bluebirds dominated the Boone County Rebels, 55-14 as expected to move to finish the regular season 8-2 overall.

It marked the first 8-2 regular season for Highlands since the 2014 Class 4A state championship team did it. The Bluebirds spent the last three years against the Rebels trying to gain respectability or finish 5-5 during the regular season. They finished 5-5 in both 2015 and 2017 and 3-7 in 2016.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Highlands-Greenwood Sidebar

Playoff Opponent Set for Bluebirds

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior kicker Nick Bowman boots one of his six extra-point tries.
The Highlands Bluebirds (7-2 overall) will take on the Madison Southern Eagles (2-7) to open the Class 5A playoffs. The winner travels to Anderson County (9-0) the following week.

Anderson County earned the bye as the result of Class 5A, District 5 having just three teams after the Kentucky High School Athletic Association let Grant County drop out of district play before the 2017 season. Madison Southern finished state runner-up last year losing 49-13 to Covington Catholic in the state championship.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bluebirds Move On in 9th Region Tournament

Highlands has won 11 Straight

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Lauren Deckert boots the ball ahead in the 9th Region semifinal game against St. Henry on Wednesday. The Bluebirds won 2-0 to advance to the region championship Thursday against Notre Dame.
One thing the Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team players and coaches said in the preseason that they did not want to see happen in the postseason is games going to penalty kicks.

In last year's 9th Region semifinals at Dixie Heights, the St. Henry Lady Crusaders eliminated the Bluebirds, 1-0 in that fashion. The feeling of another one of those presented itself in the semifinals at Ryle on Wednesday. But Highlands (18-4 overall) found the back of the net long before overtime recording a 2-0 win over the Lady Crusaders (13-4-1) to move into the championship game against the Notre Dame Pandas (13-6-3) Thursday at 7 p.m. back at Ryle.

"It's always good to win before you have to go into overtime," said Hanna Buecker, Highlands senior midfielder. "It's a lot less stressful. It was nice to play a good game and get the goals in (before the end of regulation). I think (with) this game especially, we did a pretty decent job with communication with knowing who's going where and cover for each other when we went up to get the ball and win it out of the air."

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Convincing 9th Region Tourney Win for Bluebirds

Bluebirds Dominate Crusaders

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Carter Holmes (left) heads one toward the goal while senior Luke Schweitzer (14) gets in position. Schweitzer had two goals and an assist and Holmes had a goal and assist in the 9-0 Highlands 9th Region Quarterfinal win over St. Henry on Tuesday.
Early in the season at Tower Park on Aug. 9, the Highlands Bluebirds knocked off the St. Henry Crusaders, 3-1 in a 9th Region contest.

But Head Coach Chad Niedert said the Bluebirds (18-1-3 overall) left Tower Park feeling like they did not play up to their potential. The rematch showed way more of that as the Bluebirds blanked the Crusaders (4-14-2), 9-0 in the 9th Region Quarterfinals at Tower Park on Tuesday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Highlands Girls Soccer Advances, Volleyball Season Ends

Meyer Takes Control of Highlands School Triple Crown Scoring Records in Win
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Margot Seidel (19) bumps the ball while senior libero Olivia Gessner (15) gets in position. Highlands finished the season 25-11 with a 9th Region quarterfinal loss Monday.
A quick start like this will always help matters in the postseason.

In the first two minutes, the ball found its way to Highlands senior standout forward Lindsey Meyer in the box. The Northern Kentucky University commit put it home for the only goal the Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team needed to beat the visiting Boone County Lady Rebels in the 9th Region Quarterfinals at Tower Park on Monday.

But the record-setting Meyer and company did not stop there. Meyer recorded a hat track of three goals and an assist as the Bluebirds (18-4) recorded a sound 4-0 win over the Lady Rebels (15-5-2). The teams were supposed to meet in Florence during the regular season. But the Boone County administration cancelled the game.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Highlands-CovCath Sidebar

Highlands, CovCath Could Meet Again in Playoffs

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior wide receiver Ryan Garvey (11) comes out with the team against Covington Catholic on Friday.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands OZone wore pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the game against Covington Catholic on Friday.
While the 21-14 home loss to the arch-rival Covington Catholic Colonels (8-0 overall) may have been devastating to the Highlands Bluebirds football team (6-2), this series has often seen a chance at redemption weeks later in the playoffs.
Highlands hopes for that chance after losing to the Colonels for the third straight year. The Bluebirds still lead the all-time series, 49-20.

Weekend Sports Notes

Highlands Soccer Teams Enter 9th Region Tournaments as Favorites

PHOTO: Bob Jackson. Highlands sophomore Maggie Schroeder won the Norther Kentucky Athletic Conference Division II race on Saturday at Idlewood Park in Burlington in 19 minutes, .03 seconds.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Mallory Zimmerman plays the ball in a recent game. Highlands plays host to Boone County in the 9th Region quarterfinals on Monday at 7 p.m. at Tower Park.
Both the Highlands boys and girls soccer teams enter the 9th Region Tournaments as favorites this week based on having the best records in the region and undefeated marks in region play.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Bluebirds Girls Soccer Leaves Morscher with Tough Win

Bluebirds Own 11 District Titles in 13 Seasons

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands girls soccer team won its 11th district championship in 13 seasons with a 1-0 win over Newport Central Catholic on Thursday.
Unlike the region tournament where the field must have lights to be able to play host to the tournament, the district tournament can be played anywhere as long as it is regulation size grass or turf.

Thus, the 36th District girls soccer tournament took place at Morscher Field in Silver Grove at the home of the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (11-8-1). It might have been moved to Tower Park with excessive rain, but that did not happen.

The Highlands Bluebirds (17-4 overall) were not able to use their speed advantage as well at Morscher Field. But Highlands still found a way to win by the 1-0 minimum in regulation to claim its third straight district championship and 11th in the last 13 years.

"I'm very proud of our effort," said Alex Dean, Highlands Head Coach. "It's been like that all year, but (Thursday) I felt like we wanted it more. NC has had a great season and (the Thoroughbreds) are still going to continue to play. I think our conditioning paid off. We had a lot of girls play all 80 minutes. It's something we were skeptical about. But they proved to us they can handle it, which is great."

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Highlands Freshmen Football Wins

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands offensive lineman Nate Weidner makes a block in a recent game. The Bluebirds freshman team is 6-2 on the season.
The Highlands Bluebirds freshman football team knocked off Boone County, 52-6 in Florence to snap a two-game losing streak and move to 6-2 on the season.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Tuesday Post-Season Results

Bluebirds Soccer Wins Third Straight 36th Crown; Girls Soccer, Volleyball Advance in Semis

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands Bluebirds celebrated their third straight 36th District championship with a 6-0 convincing win over the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds at Tower Park.
Head Coach Chad Niedert said this group has been looking forward to this post-season for a while.

Things started well for the Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (17-1-3 overall) with a convincing 6-0 win over the Newport Central Catholic Thoroughbreds (7-9-3) in the 36th District championship. Highlands has won three consecutive district championships.

"It's kind of motivating for our guys they have something to earn, something to prove," Niedert said. "They have this target on their back. It's been growing all season. We just have to make sure we don't get lost in all the other stuff. Our guys came in and were fully aware of what was at stake. We're glad we came away with the win."

That marked the 13th shut-out for the Bluebirds this year. They scored three in each half.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Saturday Round-Up

Highlands Soccer Shuts Out South Oldham on Senior Night

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior midfielder Max Johncox sets up to make a move with the ball in the 3-0 win over South Oldham on Saturday.
The Highlands Bluebirds made the most of their Senior Night at Tower Park with nothing other than a shut-out 3-0 victory over the South Oldham Dragons. Highlands defeated the three teams in Oldham County.

"South Oldham may not have a great record, but they're coming out a number one seed out of their District (29) a number one seed," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "They're playing real stiff competition and they were on the road a lot. They came prepared hopefully to ruin a Senior Night. They're willing to travel because they want to come and get real good competition - the same reason we invited them out here. Playing some new faces is important for us."

The Bluebirds (16-1-3 overall) out-shot the Dragons (5-9-3), 25-8 including 11-3 on goal. That marked the 12th shut-out of the season for the Bluebirds. Highlands senior goalkeeper Will Burnham had three saves.

"That's what we pride ourselves on," said Will Hochleutner, Highlands senior defender. "We make sure we shut the other team out and score as many goals as possible. Our defense has really stepped up this year. We have to be conditioned because constant runs will come against us and we have to make sure we check those. We've done a lot of running in practice to get ready for that."

Bluebirds Cross Off Final Goal

Highlands Boys Golf to Play on Final Day of State Tournament

Twitter Photo. The Highlands boys golf team wanted to shoot 320 or better to make it to the second day of the state tournament. The Bluebirds hit that score exactly at Bowling Green County Club on Friday.
The Highlands Bluebirds golf team finished the 18 holes and waited patiently for some time wondering if the final goal would be crossed off.

After the final balls found their ways into their respective holes, it happened. The Bluebirds made the cut for the final day of the state tournament Friday at Bowling Green Country Club finishing ninth shooting a 320 on the par-72 course.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Thursday Sports Round-Up

Highlands Boys Soccer Goes on Road and Wins

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior wide receiver Ethan Houze makes a move against Dixie Heights on Thursday.
PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands students came to the football game against Dixie Heights dressed up in 80s Theme Night.
Cross off another win over a team that defeated the Blue and White last year.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (15-1-3 overall) wrote down the names of eight opponents that beat the Bluebirds last year and wanted to avenge those losses. They took care of a sixth one Thursday venturing to Cincinnati (Ohio) Madeira and winning 3-1. Madeira edged the Bluebirds, 2-1 at Tower Park last year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Tuesday Highlands Round-Up

Highlands Boys Soccer, Volleyball Cruise to Victories

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands seniors Margot Seidel (left) and Olivia Gessner (right) pose with their families on Senior Day against Bellevue on Tuesday.
The Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (14-1-3 overall) ended the game just several minutes into the second half in a convincing 10-0 9th Region win over the visiting Beechwood Tigers (4-11-2). Highlands is 7-0 in region play.

Highlands out-shot Beechwood, 21-2 including 12-1 on goal. Bluebirds senior goalkeeper Will Burnham stopped the only Tigers shot on net.

"We looked at it as opportunity to work on some things with the post-season on the horizon," said Chad Niedert, Highlands Head Coach. "The last few games, we haven't been terribly dynamic up top. It's kind of been very straight line runs almost like we're playing offensively in some sort of zone at times. Before the game got going, I encouraged the guys to get creative up top with their runs. I wanted to make sure the outside back guys got forward and contributed offensively as well as defensively. I thought we looked pretty strong. I think we allowed ourselves some room to try some things. It ended up working out really well. No matter who the opponent is. We have to respect them. Beechwood has some (nice) players. We just came out with the right start."

Monday, October 1, 2018

Monday Round-Up

Highlands Earns Huge Win over Lexington Catholic

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands freshman forward Chloe Bramble boots the ball in a recent game. The Bluebirds beat Lexington Catholic, 1-0 to end the regular season.
To advance far in the post-season, high school soccer teams often have to win close ones.

The Highlands Bluebirds (15-4 overall) saw a preview of such a game to finish the regular season against the Lexington Catholic (11-5-2). Sophomore Greta Noble put one in for the Bluebirds with 28:22 left in the first quarter and Highlands made it stand in a 1-0 non-region victory.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Weekend Highlands Round-Up

Bluebirds Girls Soccer Dominates Ryle

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior defender Hannah Hartman sets up for a pass in a recent game at Tower Park. Highlands moved to 14-4 with a 5-0 blanking of Ryle on Saturday.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team wanted to kick things into high gear going into the postseason.

Highlands (14-4 overall) showed it is ready to do that with a convincing 5-0 win over the Ryle Lady Raiders (7-9) in Union. Highlands finished the regular season 9-0 in 9th Region play and recorded its 11th shut-out of the season.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Highlands Volleyball Wins 20th of Season

Bluebirds Best Apollo, Lose to Collins

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior Ava Hockney follows through on a kill attempt in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds volleyball team ventured to Louisville on Friday and split the two games in the Jefferson County Invitational Volleyball Tournament at the Ohio Valley Volleyball Center.

Highlands (20-7 overall) defeated Owensboro Apollo, 2-1 (25-20, 23-25, 27-25) in a tight win before losing to Collins, 2-0 (25-14, 25-15). Against Collins, Highlands senior outside hitter Margot Seidel had seven kills and eight digs. Junior setter Audrey Graves had 15 assists and 12 digs with senior libero Olivia Gessner contributing 14 digs and an ace.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Thursday Sports Results

Bluebirds End Winless Skid in Final Minutes

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Lindsey Meyer makes a move against Bishop Brossart on Thursday. Meyer is the school's all-time career points leader with 170 after recording two goals and an assist in the 6-0 win.
It came in the last few minutes.

But that hustle play from senior midfielder Keegan Brewer ultimately ended the three-game 0-1-2 winless streak for the Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team (13-1-3 overall). Brewer put in a deflection off a free kick from senior Carter Holmes with 2:30 left in regulation to lift the Bluebirds to a 1-0 victory over the Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle Lancers.

"It's going to boost our chemistry back up to what it was at the beginning of the season," Brewer said. "Hopefully, we can continue winning from here on out. Carter put it on frame, which is good. The goalkeeper muffed it and I just followed the shot and had an easy tap-in."

Wednesday Sports Briefs

Meyer Moves Into Sole Possession of Most Goals in School History with 65th of Career

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior forward Maria Wiefering (middle) makes a move in a recent game. Wiefering scored twice in the 10-0 win over Dayton.
Four days after perhaps their biggest win of the season, the Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team took the field at Tower Park wanting to wrap up a convincing top seed in the 36th District Tournament in a few weeks.

The Bluebirds (12-4 overall, 8-0 9th Region) did just that with a 10-0 win over the Dayton Lady Devils (2-8-1, 2-2 district) in one half. Highlands won all four district seed games by a combined 35-0.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Monday Sports Notes

The Highlands girls golf team will resume action in the Region 6 Tournament on Thursday at 8.m. Rain postponed the start of the tournament at Twin Oaks Golf Course in Covington.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Saturday Sports Notes

Highlands Girls Soccer Picks Up Huge Win in Park Hills

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands girls soccer team rallied past Notre Dame, 3-2 Saturday in Park Hills.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team again learned why one must make the most of all 4,800-plus seconds or 80-plus minutes of a game.

In the final 20 minutes, the Bluebirds (11-4 overall) stayed undefeated at 7-0 in 9th Region action with a 3-2 victory over the seven-time defending region champion Notre Dame Pandas (9-4-2) in Park Hills.

Highlands-Simon Kenton Sidebar

Bluebirds Win 30th Meeting with Pioneers

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands student section known as the OZone came to the game with a USA theme Friday.
PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior defensive lineman Sylvan Frazier (44) makes the tackle while junior defensive back Shabaz Butt (22) converges.
The Simon Kenton Pioneers football team had come into the game against the Highlands Bluebirds undefeated four straight years.

But unlike the past three seasons, Simon Kenton did not leave that way. The Bluebirds put the clamps down on the Pioneers in a 38-9 non-district victory Friday at David Cecil Memorial Stadium. That marked the first win over Simon Kenton since 1998.

That was the 30th meeting against the Pioneers all-time Friday. Highlands improved to 26-4 against Simon Kenton in school history.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Thursday Sports Results

Highlands Volleyball, Girls Soccer Record Convincing 9th Region Wins

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands volleyball team celebrates a point in a recent game.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team did not want to overlook the visitors with a showdown in Park Hills looming Saturday.

It turned out not to be an issue as Highlands beat Covington Holy Cross, 7-0 facing its second 35th District opponent in as many days. Highlands recorded 34 shots including 14 on goal to four shots with three on goal for Holy Cross. Highlands is 10-4 overall and 6-0 in 9th Region play.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Wednesday Highlands Results

Bluebirds Shut Out Lady Tigers

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner makes a save in a recent game.
The favored Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team led just 1-0 at halftime over the host Beechwood Lady Tigers.

But the Bluebirds (9-4 overall) pulled away in the second half for a 5-0 shutout. This marked their seventh shutout of the season. Junior goalkeeper Maggie Hinegardner stopped all four Beechwood (1-10) shots. Highlands improved to 5-0 in 9th Region action.

Tuesday Highlands Results

Bluebird Boys Golf Wins NKAC Division II Match

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands freshman southpaw CC Shick goes up for a kill in a recent game.
For the first time since 2006, the Highlands Bluebirds boys golf team won the Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference championship shooting 312.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Highlands Girls Soccer Drops Tight One

St. Ursula Spoils Senior Night

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, The Highlands girls celebrated Senior Night on Monday. The seniors, from left, are Hannah Hartman, Lindsey Meyer, Gwen Gorman and Hanna Buecker.
The Highlands Bluebirds girls soccer team (8-4 overall) lost 2-1 to Cincinnati St. Ursula on Senior Night at Tower Park.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Saturday Highlands Results

Bluebird Boys Soccer Owns A Dozen Wins

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands senior Demetrius Sarakatsannis plays the ball in a recent game. Highlands beat North Oldham, 3-0 for its eighth shutout this season Saturday.
The mission did not change much.

But playing at noon in the scorching heat can be a challenge. In the end, though, the Highlands Bluebirds boys soccer team overpowered the North Oldham Mustangs, 3-0 to move to 12-0-1 on the season.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Highlands-Lexington Catholic Sidebar

Bluebirds Enjoy Life on Road; Volleyball Wins Three in Cake Classic

PHOTO: Allen Ramsey, Highlands junior linebacker Mason Schwalbach (3) goes after Lexington Catholic junior running back Philippe Ilumva (42) in the 44-27 Highlands win on Friday.

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham. Highlands senior Brady Walz retrieves a ball during warm-ups Friday at Lexington Catholic.
Halfway through the season, only one road game remains. The Bluebirds completed their longest trip of the season with an 89-mile venture to Lexington Catholic and won 44-27.
"I personally enjoy road games more than home games,"
said Brian Weinrich, Highlands Head Coach. "It's fun. It just seems like the day is more structured. We get in. We eat. We get on the bus. We're together. We drive. We get off at the rest stop. We get here. We don't have much time. We have to get dressed and go. We really are focused on what we have to do so away games are good to us because these guys know how to make business trips. On the ride down, every guys was tuned in to what they were supposed to do and showed up ready to go."