Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

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).