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Friday, December 10, 2021

Highlands Moves Above .500 on Season

Bluebirds Win First Region Game of Season

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands senior guard Zach Barth (10) gets in position in a recent game.

The Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (3-2 overall) took advantage of the opportunity to move above .500 with the 9th Region road win Thursday.

Highlands ventured to Erlanger and took down the St. Henry Crusaders (1-3) by a 65-55 count. The Bluebirds built a 37-16 halftime lead, led 48-41 entering the fourth quarter and held the hosts to seven points in the final frame.

"That's a tough place to play. We're very pleased to come away with a victory. We'd have loved to have put them away to start the third quarter, which this year has been very good to us," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "(Thursday), it wasn't. We didn't execute. We had some good looks, didn't knock shots down. Then we got into fouling them too much and sending them to the free-throw line, which allowed them to extend the game and get back into it. But I'm so proud of our kids for staying mentally tough, for staying in the moment and really executing down the stretch when we had to."

The Crusaders have won the last two All "A" State Tournaments. The Bluebirds beat the Crusaders, 74-68 in the 9th Region semifinals at Covington Holmes last spring on their way to the state championship. But Highlands had lost the last two regular season meetings against St. Henry.

Highlands saw three players score in double figures. Junior guard Will Herald made three three-pointers on his way to 16 points. Senior forward Oliver Harris and senior guard Zach Barth scored 12 and 11 respectively. Senior forward Cole Kocher nearly joined them in double figures scoring nine.

"We still haven't really found ourself as a team. We'd been fighting sickness," Barth said. "That was a factor in the game. We have to focus on the next game."

The Bluebirds made 21-of-51 shots for 41 percent including 5-of-14 from three-point range for 36 percent and 18-of-26 free throws for 69 percent. They also had 36 rebounds, nine assists, nine steals, two tipped passes and seven turnovers. Barth and senior guard Leyton Read had seven rebounds and four steals each with junior guard Seth Ryan tallying three assists.

Junior forward/guard Matt Resing led the Crusaders with 15 points and senior forward Camden Fedders added 12. The Crusaders made 19-of-47 field goals for 40 percent including 1-of-12 from three-point range for eight percent and 16-of-21 free throws for 76 percent.

Highlands travels to Louisville St. Xavier on Saturday to take on the Louisville DeSales Colts (2-2). Game time is 2:30 p.m.

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