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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Highlands Girls Hoops Wins Fifth Straight

Highlands Wins Second County Rivalry Game in Three Days

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands sophomore point guard Alyssa Harris (with ball) looks to make a pass against pressure in a recent game while senior Emma Riccobene (31) flashes toward the ball.

Orangetheory Fitness, Newport Pavilion. 

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (7-3 overall) ventured south and came away with another county rivalry win Wednesday downing the Campbell County Camels (1-6) by a 43-34 count.

"It was a good win, especially (since) we didn't shoot the ball well inside the paint," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "Thankfully, we shot 50 percent from the three-point line so we overcame our easy bunnies and made some tough three-point shots. We hit free throws down the stretch when we needed to. The girls are coming in, doing what we're asking them to do and finding ways to win."

The original start time was 7:30 p.m. But the game started at 6 p.m. with the cancellation of the junior varsity game. Campbell County has had two games cancelled as a result of Coronavirus 2019 precautions.

Highlands has won five in a row. The Bluebirds have held three straight opponents below 40 points. They've also done in four out of five games during the winning streak and five times in their seven wins.

Highlands again played a six-player rotation without junior 6-foot-0-inch center CC Shick and senior guard Kate Vaught. Junior guard Meg Gessner again played more minutes than usual.

"We played well as a defensive unit," Gessner said. "What helped is we worked as a team really well. Our communication has been key honestly telling everybody who's cutting, where the shooters are."

Senior post Rory O'Hara put on a clinic scoring 23 points for the Bluebirds making two three-pointers and 11-of-12 free throws. She added 12 rebounds for a double-double. Highlands made 15-of-18 for 83 percent.

Highlands made just 11-of-34 shots including 6-of-12 from three-point range for 50 percent. The Bluebirds also had five steals, 10 turnovers and 24 rebounds.

Junior forward/guard Kylie Koeninger led Campbell County with 12 points. Campbell County made 11-of-12 free throws for 92 percent.

"She can score inside and out. We felt we did a really good job of limiting her to 12 points making every shot she took a tough one," Richey said. "I think she had one wide-open three and unfortunately, she made it."

Highlands plays host to Dixie Heights (7-2) in a huge 9th Region battle Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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