|Bluebirds Reach 23 Wins for First Time Since 2006|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team finished undefeated at home with a 90-64 win over Lloyd Memorial on Friday. Highlands is 23-2 on the season.|
The Bluebirds (23-2 overall) finished the season undefeated at home at 13-0 with a convincing 90-64 win over the Lloyd Memorial Juggernauts (14-11) to move to 11-2 in 9th Region play. That includes the two-game Carespring Holiday Classic championship at Russell Bridges Gym in December.
Highlands scored 90 or more points for the ninth time this season. The Bluebirds have scored 1,988 points on the season and are averaging just under 80 per game.
"I felt like the pace of the game was where we wanted it and we had some looks that we didn't finish that we normally do (in the first quarter)," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "In the second quarter, we really got things rolling. It was a great night and our kids answered the challenge."
The Bluebirds accomplished another feat with their 23rd win of the season. Highlands has not recorded that many wins in a season since the 2005-06 team under Head Coach Willie Schlarman finished 23-8 winning the 36th District then beating Ludlow, 63-47 in the 9th Region quarterfinals before losing 75-57 to Covington Catholic in the region semifinals.
Highlands celebrated its three seniors in guards Jacob Brass, Hunter Ahlfeld and forward Jack Delagrange. Ahlfeld scored seven points to go with five assists and Delagrange scored five points to go with two assists.
Brass has been out since the win over Covington Holmes on Jan. 14 with a season-ending injury. Brass is committed to play football at Georgetown College and Ahlfeld will play football at Morehead State University.
"It was a huge moment for Highlands," Delagrange said. "We played great. Coach Listerman really stressed that we have to play with passion and that's what we do best. That's when we thrive. The energy was great. We did what we usually do. We came out a little flat, but finished fast. It was a good team win."
The two leading Highlands scorers in juniors Sam Vinson at point guard and Luke Muller at forward continued to put up the monster nights they've done all season. Vinson averages 25 points per game and Muller averages 16.2.
Vinson scored 30 points making 13-of-20 shots for 60 percent. Vinson also grabbed 13 rebounds for a double-double to go with seven assists, six steals and one blocked shot. Muller made 6-of-11 three-point tries on his way to 26 points.
Highlands made 34-of-60 shots for 57 percent including 12-of-22 three-point tries for 55 percent and 10-of-19 free throws for 53 percent. The Bluebirds also had 31 rebounds, 22 fouls, 20 assists, five turnovers, three blocked shots and 10 steals.
"We've gotten much more patient in picking our spots with our pressure and our traps," Listerman said. "Our rotations were really solid (Friday). We turned most of (the turnovers) into points right away."
Lloyd Memorial saw three players score in double figures. Junior guard Dameion Mitchell scored 18. Junior forward Tyrese Davis scored 16 with junior guard Zaire Monroe adding 10.
The Juggernauts made 25-of-49 shots for 51 percent including just 2-of-9 from three-point range for 22 percent and 12-of-22 free throws for 55 percent. Lloyd Memorial also had 30 rebounds, 15 fouls, three assists, 16 turnovers, one blocked shot and one steal.
Highlands concludes the regular season with two road games starting Wednesday at St. Henry (20-4). Game time is 7:30 p.m.