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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Highlands (14-5) defeats Campbell County for second time this season

Bluebirds Hope to Carry Momentum into Postseason

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior guard Meg Gessner gets in defensive position in a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds girls basketball team (14-5 overall) hopes this trend continues into the postseason in a few weeks.

Highlands knocked off the county rival Campbell County Camels (7-12) for the second time this season by a 68-42 score Tuesday in Fort Thomas. The Bluebirds had previously beaten the Camels, 43-34 in Alexandria on Jan. 27.

"The girls did a great job of getting better," said Jaime Walz-Richey, Highlands Head Coach. "We wanted to push the tempo. We did some things offensively and defensively that we've talked about in practice."

The Bluebirds led 18-5 after the first quarter and 37-15 at halftime. Highlands led 54-30 entering the fourth quarter. That allowed the Highlands coaching staff to put in reserves late in the game.

"We've been playing really well as a team," said Carissa Armstrong, Highlands junior guard. "We've been working on specific things that have been a struggle for us. The intensity we give every game has helped us win."

The dynamic scoring duo of senior forwards Kelsey Listerman and Rory O'Hara led the way again scoring 18 and 17 points respectively. Eight different Bluebirds scored. O'Hara added five rebounds and two assists. Listerman had a team-high four steals.

Highlands made 20-of-50 shots for 40 percent including 7-of-23 from three-point range for 30 percent and 21-of-23 free throws for 91 percent. The Bluebirds also had 19 rebounds, eight fouls, seven turnovers, five assists, two blocked shots and 10 steals. Highlands sophomore point guard Alyssa Harris and junior guard Meg Gessner had two steals each.

"We just challenged the girls at halftime. We just told them it was nothing-nothing going out in the third quarter," Richey said. "We wanted to win each quarter. The girls came out and responded because we've had some games where we play a great first half then we come out (after halftime) and not play so well. There is still room for improvement and the girls know that, too."

Campbell County saw its leading scorer in junior guard/forward Kylie Koeninger score 16 and senior guard Leah Fleckenstein scored 12. But no one else scored more than five points.

The Camels made 15-of-31 shots for 48 percent including 6-of-14 from three-point range for 43 percent and all six free throws. Campbell County also had 23 rebounds, 13 fouls, 12 turnovers, two assists and a steal.

Highlands travels to Georgetown to face Great Crossing on Thursday. Game time is 7 p.m.

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