Story Matters

Story Matters

THE Official HHS Football Site

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.

The two NCAA Division I recruits did their thing for Ryle. Junior guard Maddie Scherr led the way with 15 points to go with nine rebounds and four steals. Scherr has offers from numerous places including the University of Louisville. Jeff Walz, a 1990 Highlands alum and current Louisville Cardinals head women's basketball coach, was in attendance at the game.

Senior guard Lauren Schwartz added 12 points. She added nine rebounds and four steals. Schwartz recently signed with Rice University, a Conference USA program located in Houston (Texas).

But Ryle Head Coach Katie Haitz challenged the supporting cast to improve around after the Lady Raiders drove to the state quarterfinals last year before losing to Louisville Mercy and only graduated one player off that team. Sophomore Brie Crittendon has especially taken that to heart. She scored 14 points and senior guard Juliet McGregor added 10.

"I feel like all five of our players even our sixth player and even going down (the bench) have started to be more confident in their shots and even what they need to do with the ball," Haitz said. "You can't just pay attention to (Lauren and Maddie). You have to pay attention to all of them. It's an amazing thing. It's not something you see all the time. The girls have really just figured out who does what. This team has been together for several years and it makes it nice because they know each others' tendencies and what's going to be doing on during the game."

Highlands senior guard Zoie Barth did what she could to keep the Bluebirds in the game. Ryle tried face-guarding her and she found teammates open rolling to the basket in the first quarter and also played a key role in breaking a Ryle press that had caused problems for other teams.

"It's so hard with them because they're so athletic," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "You have Maddie and Lauren up top who are long. You have Juliet underneath the basket who can jump out of the gym. We have to do a better job with our transition defense and rebound."

But once Ryle backed off the face-guarding strategy, it pulled away. The Lady Raiders used a 12-0 run at the end of the first quarter and into the second quarter to go up 30-16 with 5:47 left in the half. Highlands trimmed the lead to 40-33 with 2:37 left in the third quarter, cut came no closer after that.

"We talked about it after the game. It's a game of runs," Richey said. "We did some great things defensively then we also had a lot of lapses. So we know this is a great game to get us ready (for later in the season). We have to learn from these mistakes we made and make sure they don't happen in the next game and so on."

Barth led Highlands with 15 points. She also had five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Sophomore Rory O'Hara followed with 10.

"I appreciate everyone who came out. I thought we had a great crowd," Richey said. "We had a lot of students here so I hope they come back for our next game Tuesday."

Highlands made 14-of-39 shots for 36 percent including 5-of-16 from three-point land for 31 percent and made 8-of-11 free throws for 73 percent. The Bluebirds also had 14 turnovers, 23 rebounds and six steals.

Ryle made 23-of-49 shots for 47 percent including 7-of-14 three-point tries for 50 percent and 5-of-6 free throws for 83 percent. The Lady Raiders also had 11 turnovers, 28 rebounds, four assists and 12 steals.

"We had a little lapse there in the third quarter where we got a little discombobulated," Haitz said. "But we turned that right back around. We were able to take care of the ball and do what we do best, which is take care of the ball and look for the transition. At that point, we're wanting to move the clock and get smart shots and we did that. Our team is very unselfish that way and it makes it hard for them to guard us."

Highlands plays host to Scott (3-4) in a make-up game Tuesday in Fort Thomas. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

Basketball, Boys:
Highlands 77, Bishop Brossart 52:

Highlands (6-1) ventured south and defeated another in-county rival in non-region action.

This game came down to whoever shot the ball better. Highlands took 52 shots making 30 for 58 percent including 4-of-14 from three-point range for 29 percent. Bishop Brossart (5-3) made 15-of-30 shots for 30 percent including 3-of-14 from three-point range for 21 percent. Highlands scored 1.11 points per possession and Bishop Brossart had .74.

"We did a great job, especially in the second half, of just sitting down and guarding. We only fave up four points in the fourth quarter, which is a testament to our depth," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We were very patient with what we did and just understood that it's a process even within the game and the guys did a great job of staying within themselves and doing what they're capable of. They were very unselfish so I was very proud of the way we played."

Senior Nate Roberts led Highlands with 20 points making all eight shots including two three-pointers and two free throws. Senior Ben Sisson also did his thing scoring 18 points and senior Alex Starkey scored 11 with sophomore Sam Vinson scoring nine. Highlands outscored Bishop Brossart, 44-18 in the paint and 14-11 off the bench. The Bluebirds also had 16 points off turnovers to two for the Mustangs.

Fifteen different Bluebirds saw action. That included senior forward Grady Cramer.

"It all comes with hard work," Cramer said. "This group of seniors has been amazing. Since we were younger, we've always played together. It's paying off for us."

The Mustangs did better in the free-throw shooting department. They made 19-of-23 for 83 percent compared to 13-of-22 for 63 percent for Highlands.

Senior guard JD Schumacher led Bishop Brossart with 22 points. He made all nine free throws.

"They do a very good job of running their stuff," Listerman said. "They're patient. They do a good job of getting to the free-throw line. In the third quarter, we let them get to the free-throw line with some of our mistakes defensively and we really cleaned it up in the fourth quarter. That's what allowed us to pull away."

The Bluebirds play host to Newport (5-1) on Monday in a key 36th District game and Listerman hopes to community comes out for it. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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