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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Boothe-Smith resigns position at Dixie Heights

Fort Thomas Matters File Photo. Tara Boothe-Smith, kneeling, resigned her head coaching position of the Dixie Heights Lady Colonels recently. The 2002 Highlands graduate guided Dixie Heights to three 34th District championships in five seasons.
Basketball has been a big part of Tara Boothe-Smith's life.

But for now, the 2002 Highlands graduate is stepping away from coaching altogether. Smith served as the head coach of the Dixie Heights Lady Colonels the last five seasons. Smith just accepted a management position at Lowe's and said it required more of a time commitment. Smith and her husband Steve also have three kids in daughters Peyton (4 years old), Harper (nine months) and son Austin (5).

Dixie Heights compiled a record of 69-86 during those five seasons with 34th District championships last year, 2015 and 2013. That included an 0-5 record against Highlands.

The Lady Colonels had not won a district championship since 2008 and had missed the 9th Region Tournament the three seasons prior to Smith taking the job in 2011 winning just 24 games. During that time, Smith's family including her parents Judy and Richard Boothe helped watch the children when Smith was coaching.

"I really enjoyed my time at Dixie," Smith said. "I worked with some great people and coached some great kids. It's a lot to be taking (the kids) to practice three days a week at least. It's a lot to ask everyone, 'Hey, I need you to watch these guys again.' They're starting their owns sports. It's only going to get worse with what they get involved in."

The best season came in 2012-2013 when the Colonels collected wins in seven of their last 11 games to finish 16-16. Dixie Heights finished 15-16 this past year winning nine of its last 14 games with three juniors and a freshman in the starting lineup.

"I'm really proud of what we were able to accomplish there," Smith said. "Under different circumstances, I definitely would have stayed. It's a credit to the kids over there. They're putting in more of a commitment and more time. We felt like that was our district now whereas before, it was kind of up in the air. (As) the lone (Northern Kentucky Athletic Conference) Division I school in that district, you should go in with that as your goal and more every year." 

Dixie Heights has not won a region game since 2005 and its last region championship came in 1992. The Lady Colonels did struggle with full and half-court pressure in Smith's first couple seasons but continued to improve slowly.

"When you get up (to the region), you're playing teams that are experienced," Smith said. "Ever year, we had some adjustments. This year, you miss that 6-3 center in the post (2015 graduate Liza Tibbs). You can just throw the ball up to her. We relied on shooting the ball outside and it didn't fall for us. But I think they did a good job."

Smith came to Dixie Heights after serving as an assistant for Highlands the previous three seasons. During that time, Highlands advanced to the region tournament two of the three seasons and made the region semifinals in 2009.

Smith is the second-leading point scorer in Highlands history with 2,021 career points only behind current Highlands Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey's 4,948. She finished Ms. Basketball runner-up in 2002 and led the Ladybirds to their last two region championships in 2000 and 2001.

Smith continued her basketball career at nearby Xavier University. She scored a school-record 2,324 points and 1,004 career rebounds.

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