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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Highlands Earns Home 9th Region Victory

Bluebirds Win Third Straight

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Rory O'Hara shoots free throws in a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (5-3 overall) will take the 52-34 9th Region win over the St. Henry Crusaders (1-4) at home Friday.

But Head Coach Jaime Walz-Richey pointed out some things that need to improve to give the Bluebirds a shot at beating the better teams in the region. Highlands is 3-2 against region opponents.

"This wasn't one of our better games," Richey said. "The girls are going to have to start doing the things that they see on film in order to be good."

Highlands forced turnovers with pressure all over the court recording five steals off 14 St. Henry turnovers. Senior forwards Kelsey Listerman and Rory O'Hara recorded two steals each. The Bluebirds allowed no steals on eight turnovers.

"When we did our press the correct way and hit our traps, they threw it away," Richey said. "We all have to be on the same page. We have to communicate with one another. We lacked that some (Friday)."

Listerman scored 20 points making 9-of-13 shots to lead Highlands and senior forward Emma Riccobene had 14 making three three-pointers. O'Hara scored eight.

"We did have a lot of mistakes, which we can really learn from," O'Hara said. "But I feel like we did a good job, especially Emma Riccobene, of driving and recognizing her mismatch on the wing. That gave her a lot of room to drive and have people help. We found the open shooter."

Highlands made 21-of-44 shots for 48 percent including 7-of-20 from three-point range for 35 percent. The Bluebirds also had 22 rebounds with eight on the offensive glass to go with 10 assists and hit 3-of-9 free throws for 33 percent.

Highlands jumped out to a 17-4 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. The Bluebirds led 29-18 at halftime.

St. Henry made 13-of-29 shots for 45 percent including 6-of-16 from three-point range for 38 percent and 2-of-3 free throws for 67 percent. The Crusaders had 17 rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots. Senior Morgan Flanagan led St. Henry with 16 points and freshman Kayla Unkraut scored 12.

Highlands takes on Newport Central Catholic (4-3) on Monday at home. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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