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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Herald's Triple at Buzzer Lifts Highlands to Road Win

Highlands Escapes Independence with Win

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Fort Thomas Matters. Highlands junior guard Will Herald (15) passes the ball in the win at Simon Kenton on Tuesday. Herald made the game-winning three from the left corner at the buzzer.

The Blue and White prefers not to be in this situation.

But the Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team (11-5 overall) executed the final play in the game's final seven second to come away with a 60-58 win over the Simon Kenton Pioneers (7-7) on Tuesday. Following two senior guard Isaac Miller free throws to put Simon Kenton up 58-57, Highlands senior guard Zach Barth brought the ball up against the Simon Kenton pressure and found junior guard Will Herald in the left corner all alone. Herald nailed it to give the Bluebirds the win.

"I knew we were going to have a chance to get a last-second shot. I didn't think it would be me," Herald said. "But I would be willing to take it. When I shot it, I knew it had a chance of going in. I didn't shoot very well (Tuesday). I held my follow-through. When it went in, it was a sense of relief after a tough game like this."

Highlands struggled against Simon Kenton's 2-1-2 and half-court pressure some late in the game. The Bluebirds led 57-56 after Simon Kenton junior center/forward Gabe Dynes slammed home an offensive rebound. Highlands tried to inbound the ball after a time-out but turned it over.

"It was a game of runs. They put a run on us early and we battled back," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "We made a good run in the third quarter to go up about six or eight. Then we had a couple turnovers, a couple missed shots and they got rolling again. We took the last time out. I told the guys you have to believe this is going to happen. It's an opportunity to grow and we did."

Herald finished with eight points making two three-pointers. But senior forward Oliver Harris led the way scoring 19 points making a lot of solid moves near the basket. Barth added 10 and senior forward Cole Kocher scored nine.

"We just learned from (past mistakes)," Barth said. "I saw two, three guys come up in their press. Luckily, I found Will in the corner. Ollie (Harris) set a nice screen. Will was able to knock it down."

Both teams missed two free throws. Simon Kenton made 11-of-13 for 85 percent and Highlands made 8-of-10 for 80 percent.

Simon Kenton led 32-31 at halftime. But Highlands outscored the hosts, 15-9 in the third quarter to go up 46-40 entering the fourth quarter.

The Bluebirds tried to pull away. But Simon Kenton's leading scorer in sophomore guard Travis Krohman drew a foul on a three-point shot and made all three free throws on his way to 15 points. He also hit a crucial three in the fourth quarter. Krohman averaged 13.4 and Miller 12 even entering the game.

Miller led the Pioneers with 19 points and senior guard Jack Marx scored 10. Highlands held senior guard/forward Andrew Smith to eight points. Smith averaged 11.3 entering the game.

Highlands applied 2-1-2 full-court pressure a good part of the game against Simon Kenton. Listerman said the Bluebirds morphed their press a bit trying to match up with the 7-foot-even Dynes.

"We didn't trap quite as much as we normally do because we were worried about leaving a couple of their shooters," Listerman said. "In the second half, we made a couple adjustments to it and got them to turn it over and that fed into us getting the lead."

Highlands travels to Dixie Heights (11-3) on Friday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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