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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Bluebirds Reach 20-Win Plateau for Second Straight Year

Highlands Rebounds from CovCath Loss

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds moved to 20-2 on the season with a 68-53 non-region win over Cincinnati Anderson on Tuesday.
The Highlands Bluebirds basketball team (20-2) hit the 20-win mark for the second straight season with a 68-53 win over Cincinnati (Ohio) Anderson on Tuesday at Russell Bridges Gym.

Highlands last recorded back-to-back 21-win seasons in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. The Bluebirds finished 20-12 last year losing to Newport (64-61) in the 36th District championship at Newport Central Catholic then to Cooper (47-37) in the 9th Region quarterfinals at Northern Kentucky University's BB&T Arena.

Anderson is 6-13 on the season. The Eastern Cincinnati Conference member won just two games last year.

"It was a very physical game," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "They played very hard. They played well. In the first half, we did not do a very good job of guarding them and let them get some open threes and too many looks at the rim. In the second half, we did a much better job defensively."

Highlands did it behind another monster game from junior point guard Sam Vinson. Vinson made 12-of-23 shots and 7-of-8 free throws on his way to 34 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists and eight steals.

Junior forward Luke Muller followed with 12 points to go with one assist. Muller made four three-pointers.

Highlands made 22-of-55 shots for 40 percent including 9-of-23 from three-point range for 39 percent and 15-of-22 free throws for 68 percent. The Bluebirds also had 29 rebounds, 14 assists, one turnover and 11 steals.

"There's a lot to be proud of," Listerman said. "We didn't play our best. But you're going to have nights and the mark of a good team is to find a way to win when you don't play your best."

Thirteen different players saw action for the Bluebirds. This included sophomore forward Cole Kocher.

"When you're sitting on the bench and he calls your number, you always have to be prepared to go in and do what you have to do and help the team succeed whether it's getting a rebound or two or playing good defense," Kocher said. "I think that because of back-to-back 20-win seasons, more people in Fort Thomas are getting involved in cheering on the basketball team and just supporting us throughout our journey this season."

Austin Coldiron and Joey Cron led Anderson with 16 and 12 points respectively. Anderson made 22-of-43 shots for 51 percent including 5-of-13 from three-point range for 38 percent and 4-of-10 free throws for 40 percent. Anderson also had 32 rebounds, 20 fouls, one assist and 17 turnovers.

Highlands plays host to Dixie Heights (5-17) on Wednesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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