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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Highlands Pulls away from Covington Holmes

Bluebirds Move to 2-1 on Season

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior center CC Shick (25) gets in defensive position along with Rory O'Hara (35) and Meg Gessner (11).

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (2-1 overall) scored the game's first 12 points and never looked back in this 67-26 9th Region win.

Highlands took 25 more shots than Holmes (0-3) in the victory. The Bluebirds made 19-of-42 for 45 percent including 8-of-20 from three-point range for 40 percent and the Lady Bulldogs made just 11-of-26 for 42 percent including 3-of-12 from three-point range for 25 percent.

"I didn't know how we would start with Senior Night even though we've played in the gym more times," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We came out with a lot of energy and executed our game plan. We thought we could get some points on transition. We were able to do that in the beginning to get us going."

The Bluebirds saw 10 different players score with senior guard Emma Mallery leading the way with 17 and senior forward Kelsey Listerman scoring 13 with senior post Rory O'Hara scoring 11. Richey said the coaching staff had been trying to get Mallery to shoot more. The other two Highlands seniors are forward Emma Riccobene and guard Kate Vaught. O'Hara had 10 rebounds for a double-double to go with eight assists and six steals.

"We know we have to work together to get better," Mallery said. "Our defense was what helped us a lot. We work on (2-on-1s) a lot in practice and we do it a lot before the game. We try our best."

Highlands had 21 assists, 22 steals, two blocked shots, 14 turnovers and 32 rebounds. Listerman added five steals and four assists. The Bluebirds made 5-of-10 free throws for 50 percent.

Holmes had 20 rebounds, nine fouls, eight turnovers, no assists, four blocked shots and one steal. Junior Makayla Meyer led the Lady Bulldogs with 12 points. Holmes moved her to the perimeter in the second half.

"We've come a long way. I got the privilege to work with these girls when they played junior varsity," said Alissa Brown, Holmes Head Coach. "Now you can see their basketball IQ is getting higher. We just have a lot to work on. We have no seniors. We of course have had our challenges with the (Coronavirus 2019) pandemic and time off. It's added all kind of obstacles especially at our school reaching kids. We're still grinding. They're taking these losses tough. We're going to make changes and work harder."

Highlands led 14-2 after one quarter and 32-11 at halftime. The Lady Bulldogs only scored in double digits with 13 points in the third quarter trailing 50-24 entering the final quarter.

"They just have to be confident in themselves. They're able to (make good passes)," Brown said. "We have a lot of talent. We're trying to figure out how to utilize it and how to work together."

Highlands has used an eight-player rotation early in the season. But freshman guard Laney Smith and eighth grade post Marissa Green saw action Saturday.

"My grandpa (legendary Highlands and Northern Kentucky Head Coach Ken Shields) is always telling me when you get your opportunity, you just have to go lights out," Smith said. "You make the most of what you have."

Highlands plays at three-time defending 9th Region champion Ryle (2-0) in Fort Thomas on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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