|Highlands Bests State-Ranked Oldham County|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior Bryson Cody (middle) brings the ball up the court in a recent game.|
The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (3-2 overall) took down the Oldham County Colonels (1-1) in a road non-region game, 73-63.
The Bluebirds saw four players score in double figures led by senior point guard Sam Vinson's double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Senior forward Luke Muller and junior forward Oliver Harris scored 12 each and sophomore guard William Herald scored 11 making three three-point tries. Muller made two three-pointers.
"The beginning did not go right," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We got down 11-0, had a couple turnovers, missed a couple shots. They got out of the gate quickly. We really talked about being poised against their pressure and after the first three minutes, I thought we were very poised. I thought we made some great decisions."
Highlands saw seven different players score. Junior forward Cole Kocher gave the Bluebirds a spark off the bench scoring eight points.
"I was open in the middle of their (2-2-1) press," Kocher said. "The guards found a way to get me the ball when I was open near the basket or near the (free throw) line so I just took those wide-open lay-ups and scored."
The Bluebirds made 26-of-48 shots for 54 percent including 6-of-16 three-point tries for 38 percent and 15-of-21 free throws for 71 percent. Highlands had 26 rebounds, 15 assists and seven steals. Junior guard Leyton Read had five assists and junior guard Zach Barth had five points to go with four steals.
Highlands trailed 19-10 after the first quarter and just 31-28 at halftime. The Bluebirds grabbed a 47-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.
"We came out at halftime with a lot more energy," Muller said. "We got it down to where we could be in the game. We just didn't really finish. This team this year has a lot of toughness. If we can knock down shots, I think we're going to be hard to beat."
Senior Tyler Slone led the Colonels with 21 points and nine rebounds. Senior Grant Gibson followed with 12.
Oldham County also saw seven different players score. The Colonels made 24-of-55 shots for 44 percent and 9-of-12 free throws for 75 percent. They had 27 rebounds and six steals.
Highlands plays host to Covington Catholic (5-1) on Saturday. Game time is 6 p.m. The game originally scheduled for Thursday at Boone County has been called off because of Coronavirus 2019 protocols.
Highlands 71, North Oldham 54:
The Bluebirds (4-3 overall) surged above .500 with the road victory over the Lady Mustangs (0-2).
Senior forwards Rory O'Hara and Kelsey Listerman continued their consistent play scoring 22 and 17 points respectively. Listerman made three three-pointers and O'Hara made all four free throws.
"We gave the girls a goal of how many shots we wanted for the game," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We wanted push the tempo and when the lane was open, we wanted to attack it."
But the coaching staff has tried to encourage more players to be aggressive with their shooting and nine different Bluebirds scored. Sophomore point guard Alyssa Harris had one of her better games scoring eight.
"We've been putting in a lot of extra hours to be the best that we can be individually and that's really helped our team grow and make ourselves more of a threat rather than it just being Kelsey and Rory that teams have to worry about," Harris said. "Now we get to cherish every single game and every single practice like it's going to be our last. It makes every day memorable and makes every day count."
Highlands made 12-of-16 free throws for 75 percent compared to 11-of-13 for 85 percent. Junior Riley Neal led North Oldham with 22 points and junior Kylie Vize scored 12. Both teams made five three-pointers.
The Bluebirds play St. Henry (1-3) on Friday. Game time is 6 p.m.