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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Highlands Dominates Bellevue on Senior Night

Bluebirds Hit Century Mark

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands freshman Brody Benke runs up-court in a recent game. Benke scored 14 points in the win over Bellevue on Thursday.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (5-3 overall) celebrated Senior Night with a convincing 104-42 win over the Bellevue Tigers (1-5) on Thursday in 36th District action.

This marked the first time Highlands hit the century since Kevin Listerman took over as head coach in 2013 and the first time the Bluebirds have done it in a while. Highlands scored a season-high 97 points in a win over Covington Holmes during the 28-4 season last year.

"We started the four seniors for Senior Night. They set the tone and we talked about the greatest way to respect your opponent is to give your best effort," Listerman said. "I thought our kids responded and did that very well. They played hard and they played unselfish. They just made the right pass at the right time."

The four Highlands seniors are point guard Sam Vinson, guard Daniel Buchanan and forwards Luke Muller and Bryson Cody. Highlands saw 14 different players score in the victory with five scoring in double figures. Cody scored 13 with Vinson, junior guard Zach Barth and junior forward Oliver Harris scoring 10 each.

Highlands made 41-of-69 shots for 59 percent and 10-of-15 free throws for 67 percent. The Bluebirds also had 32 rebounds, 21 assists and 10 steals. Vinson and junior forward Cole Kocher had six rebounds each. Vinson also had four assists and three steals. Harris added three assists and three steals.

"I think we have to come into practice every day with the mindset to where something like that does happen like (Thursday) to where we need to come off the bench and play some valuable minutes," said Austin Duncan, Highlands junior guard. "Everyone that played had a fantastic game. That's a pretty good thing for a high school game."

Bellevue made 14-of-29 shots for 48 percent and 9-of-13 free throws for 69 percent. Senior guard Derek Leedy led the Tigers with 12 points and eighth grader Zach Mertens scored 11. The Tigers also had 10 rebounds and six assists.

Highlands does not play again until Feb. 2 against Cooper (2-4). Game time is 7:30 p.m. in Union. Highlands saw its game against Newport Central Catholic on Saturday postponed as a result of Coronavirus 2019 precautions.

Highlands still has to play Newport Central Catholic and Newport in district play. Dayton will be the fifth seed in the tournament in March. The other four teams will battle for the top four seeds.

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