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Monday, January 10, 2022

Highlands Drops Road Game at Ashland

Bluebirds 0-2 in State Tournament Rematches

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

Halfway through the season, the Highlands Bluebirds boys basketball team owns a respectable 10-5 record.

But two of those losses have come in state tournament rematches. Highlands ventured east and fell 75-57 to the Ashland Blazer Tomcats (11-4) on Saturday.

Highlands beat Ashland, 66-50 in the state semifinals at Rupp Arena in Lexington on April 3, 2021 on its way to the first state championship in school history. Highlands also lost a state tournament rematch against McCracken County in December.

Ashland built an 18-7 lead after the first quarter and led 38-25 at halftime. Highlands cut the margin to seven in the second half before the Tomcats made consecutive triples and kept the lead between 10 and 15 points the rest of the game.

Highlands made 24-of-44 shots for 55 percent including 3-of-9 from three-point range for 33 percent and 6-of-8 free throws for 75 percent. The Bluebirds also had 26 rebounds, 14 fouls, 12 assists, 16 turnovers and two steals.

Senior forward Oliver Harris led the Bluebirds with 17 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Zach Barth had 15 points and four assists with junior guard Will Herald scoring 12.

Ashland made 23-of-55 shots for 42 percent including 15-of-38 from three-point range for 40 percent and 12-of-15 free throws for 82 percent. The Tomcats also had 25 rebounds, 11 fouls, 16 assists, three turnovers and 13 steals.

Senior Cole Villers led Ashland with 23 points, 10 rebounds and six steals for a double-double. Junior Colin Porter followed with 22 points and nine assists.

Highlands travels to Simon Kenton (7-6) on Tuesday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.

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