|Bluebirds Defeat 10th Region Opponents|
|PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands seniors Emma Riccobene (31) and Kate Vaught (5) close in on defense in the win over Scott on Saturday.|
The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (12-5 overall) used a solid defensive effort in the second half to pull away for a non-region victory Saturday.
Highlands knocked off the Scott Lady Eagles (10-5), 44-26. Highlands has won 10 of its last 12 games while Scott has dropped four in a row.
"It's always good to win. But the main goal is to get better and see what areas we need to improve on," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We saw some areas we need to get better at before the next game."
Highlands saw senior forward Kelsey Listerman again lead the way with 19 points. Senior forward Emma Riccobene followed with nine.
"The passing was big because they were sitting in a (1-2-2) zone," Listerman said. "You had to get them moving. That also involved cutting. You had to find the open person and knock down shots. We did a good job of that."
The Bluebirds made 14-of-28 shots for 50 percent for 50 percent including just 3-of-17 from three-point range for 18 percent. Highlands made all seven free throws and had eight assists, 13 steals, 12 turnovers and 28 rebounds.
Sophomore guard Ava Coleman led Scott with nine points. Scott played without senior Mya Meredith, who averages 20.4 points per game. Senior Sophia Allen averages 14.6 points per game. But Highlands held her to six. Allen is also going to the University of Tampa, where Highlands senior forward Rory O'Hara will attend this fall.
"Our defensive intensity was really good. We made some adjustments in the second half to put more pressure on them," Richey said. "We wanted to know where Allen was at all times. Our girls responded well."
Scott made just 11-of-41 shots for 27 percent including 4-of-17 from three-point range for 24 percent and missed the lone free-throw attempt. The Lady Eagles also had 23 rebounds.
Highlands does not play again until Friday. The Bluebirds travel to Villa Madonna for a 7:30 p.m. 9th Region battle.
Highlands 79, Bishop Brossart 51:
The Bluebirds (13-4) ran away from the Mustangs (6-8) for their third win over a county rival in four days.
Highlands senior point guard Sam Vinson led the way with a triple-double with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Vinson also had four steals.
The Bluebirds saw 11 different players score. Senior forward Luke Muller followed with 19 points with junior forward Oliver Harris and sophomore guard Will Herald scoring 15 and 10 respectively.
Highlands made 32-of-50 shots for 64 percent including 8-of-21 three-point tries for 38 percent and 7-of-14 free throws for 50 percent. The Bluebirds also had 26 rebounds, 23 assists and 10 steals.
"(The Mustangs) were able to spread the floor and knock down some shots in the first quarter," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "Sam Vinson hit a big three to give us the lead at 22-20 afret the first quarter. We were able to get the game to a tempo where we wanted to play. We forced them into some turnovers, get out in transition, knock down some threes and really took control of the game from that point."
Bishop Brossart made 18-of-45 shots for 40 percent and 5-of-15 three-point tries for 33 percent to go with 10-of-12 free throws for 83 percent. The Mustangs also had 19 rebounds, two assists and one steal playing without junior center David Govan. Govan averages 11.5 points per game.
Senior guards Stephen Verst and Caron Schirmer led Bishop Brossart with 14 points each. Verst made three three-pointers.
Highlands hit the running clock in the second half. That allowed the reserves to see some action including sophomore guard Seth Ryan. Coach Listerman said no starters played after the third quarter.
"This gives us good experience because we will be losing some key pieces next year," Ryan said. "A lot of people have played a lot of basketball in the upcoming classes. Only a few have quit."
Highlands plays host to Simon Kenton on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.