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Friday, February 5, 2021

Highlands Survives Overtime Against Holy Cross

Gessner's Career-High 12 points Helps Bluebirds to Victory

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior guard Meg Gessner (right) gets down in defensive position in a recent game. Gessner scored 12 points to help Highlands to a 48-46 overtime win over Covington Holy Cross on Thursday.

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (9-4 overall) survived an overtime scare to beat the Covington Holy Cross Indians (3-3), 48-46 in 9th Region on Thursday.

Highlands has won seven of its last eight games. The Bluebirds moved to 6-3 in region action.

Senior forward Emma Riccobene took the ball out of the Highlands spread offense and drove the lane scoring with 35 seconds left to lift the Bluebirds to the victory. Riccobene scored 10 points.

Senior forwards Kelsey Listerman and Rory O'Hara continued to do their thing. Listerman scored 12 and O'Hara had eight points and nine rebounds. Listerman also had three steals.

"Especially since they were guarding us real close, the play that we ran is exactly for that," Riccobene said. "We have so many good drivers such as Kelsey and Rory that can take it to the basket one-on-one. We took advantage of it. It was pretty good."

But junior guard Meg Gessner had a break-out game for the Bluebirds. Gessner made 5-of-8 shots including two three-pointers to score a career-high 12 points.

"Meg is a great shooter. We talked the other day and she hasn't taken a bad shot all year," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We knew they were going to start falling. She's been putting in time after practice and coming in off days. She finally saw the ball go in on her first shot and just kept shooting. When teams are so worried about Rory and Kelsey, other people will be open. She got us off to a good start."

Highlands made 19-of-41 shots for 46 percent including 5-of-12 from three-point range for 42 percent and 5-of-7 free throws for 71 percent. The Bluebirds also had 22 rebounds, 11 fouls, five turnovers, seven assists and five steals. Sophomore point guard Alyssa Harris recorded three assists.

Holy Cross played three games to start the season, but had to pause games for a couple weeks. Senior guard Grace Bezold scored 18 to lead the Indians and senior forward Kara Krumpelman added 12.

Holy Cross made 20-of-44 shots for 46 percent including 5-of-16 three-point tries for 31 percent and 1-of-2 free throws for 50 percent. The Indians also had 19 rebounds, seven fouls, four turnovers, three assists and three blocked shots.

"They had (freshman Julia) Hunt inside that is maybe 6-3 so we had to deal with that length inside," Richey said. "She altered some shots inside the paint."

Highlands led 16-11 after one and 33-20 at halftime. But Holy Cross came back to send the game to overtime holding Highlands to five points in each of the third and fourth quarters.

Highlands plays Boone County (7-3) at home on Saturday. Game time is 1:30 p.m.

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