|Bluebirds Pull Away from Lady Bulldogs|
|Highlands junior forward Kelsey Listerman (20) makes a move in the paint in a recent game.|
Highlands played its second of four straight road games to finish the regular season against the struggling Covington Holmes Lady Bulldogs (4-22). The Bluebirds moved to 10-2 in region play while the Lady Bulldogs dropped to 3-9 in region play with their ninth straight loss.
Holmes is just three seasons removed from a state semifinal appearance in 2017 and second straight region championship. The Lady Bulldogs finished 21-8 the following season winning the 35th District championship and driving back to the region championship game before losing 69-41 to Ryle.
But the Lady Bulldogs dropped to 7-19 last year and did not make the region tournament for the first time since the 2013-14 season. They have their fourth head coach in four seasons in former Kentucky State player Alissa Brown.
On the other side, Highlands Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey is the longest tenured head coach at the school in her 18th season. The Bluebirds are shooting for their eighth straight season of 20 or more wins.
"I think that having one head coach for my three years that I've been there I think really, really helps with focus," said Emma Riccobene, Highlands junior forward. "I think we all really appreciate her commitment to the team and how much time and effort she puts into it because she knows that we can win, go to region and state."
Highlands saw 10 different players score. Senior guard Piper Macke led the way with 18 points making 7-of-14 shots including three three-pointers to go with three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Senior guard Maggie Hinegardner made three triples on her way to nine points with senior forward Meghan Walz scoring seven points. Junior forward Kelsey Listerman had six points and four assists and Riccobene had six points and six rebounds.
Highlands made 24-of-53 shots for 45 percent including 8-of-21 three-point tries for 38 percent and 5-of-6 free throws for 83 percent. The Bluebirds also had 22 rebounds, 14 fouls, six turnovers, 13 assists, one blocked shot and nine steals.
The Bluebirds have several players out with injuries. But sophomore forward KJ Toole saw her first varsity action and scored her first bucket of the season and had her first rebound.
Senior Malaysia Chames led Holmes with 12 points and freshman Nejai Lewis scored 11. The Lady Bulldogs made 16-of-36 shots for 44 percent including 0-of-5 from three-point range and 6-of-14 free throws for 43 percent. Holmes also had 31 rebounds, 10 fouls, 14 turnovers, one assist and three blocked shots.
Highlands travels to Simon Kenton (25-3) on Wednesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
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