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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Highlands Video Garners Top Award

Contributed Photo. Highlands student Mason Bibb shows his trophies after winning the top award from the Student Technology Leadership Program State Championships. Bibb and Trey Bowden put together a documentary on the evolution of women's basketball. 
Approximately 9000 students sat in Rupp Arena for the 2017 Student Technology Leadership Program (STLP) State Championships.

Highlands students Mason Bibb and Trey Bowden were asked to put together a video that involved the Highlands basketball program as part of a contest commemorating the Centennial Celebration of Kentucky High School Basketball. Bowden and Bibb brought home the top prize in the contest.

As a result, Bibb took home a $2,500 scholarship in addition to $1,500 for making the Final Four. The schools that participated also received $500 for the technology program.

"It is very exciting to see students get to the point where they take the skills they've learned and start to develop their own voice," said Bill Poff, Highlands Film and Broadcasting Teacher.

The video focused on the rise of women's basketball. Bibb and Bowden interviewed Highlands girls basketball head coach Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands senior Emma Little and ESPN's Doris Burke. Bibb said they took that route because it made for an emotional story.

"Not just the crowd and popularity, but the rules and changes is actually really interesting as well," Bibb said. "In fact, researching through this piece was pretty difficult because a timeline or history of girls basketball is pretty specific so I had to go researching for quite some time."

The two agreed that the 43-year drought between girls basketball state championships was interesting. The first state tournament took place in 1923 and was held annually until 1932. The tournament did not resume until 1975.

"It really just fascinates me that any sport can die and come back from the death and be as popular or as important to people as any school team," Bowden said. "I would never have thought it'd die out, especially high school sports. It's just awesome."

In the video, Richey said the bleachers were only pulled out on one side when she first played on the varsity in junior high. But both sides were pulled out in her later years of high school. She held the all-time scoring record for the state with 4,948 career points until last year.

"Women's basketball has been gaining popularity in general not just at the high school level," Bibb said. "I think that popularity is going to continue to rise. It's continuing to grow at our own school. Jaime talked about this in the video. The stands are filling up for girls games as well. If it is a rivalry, it will be just as loud for girls as it is boys. I think that is important for the players, the girls who played the game and to the school."

Bowden made the call to ESPN and they interviewed her over the phone. Burke played college basketball at Providence College. She led the Big East Conference in assists in 1987 landing her a spot on the second-team All-Big East. Burke was also the college's Co-Female Athlete of the Year in 1987.

"Interviewing Doris Burke was an incredible experience for myself. She's so well-known," Bowden said. "You see her on ESPN and NBA TV reporting basketball. She was a really great (college) player. Getting her perspective on the rise of high school women's basketball. It really doesn't get any better than that getting a perspective from one of the greatest broadcasters of all time."

This marked the second year of the state tournament. Bibb and Bowden beat out students from McCracken County and Central Hardin in the Final Four to win the title.

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