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Highlands 79 Bellevue 61

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They wanted nothing more than to lock up no less than their highest seed since the 36th District went to a seeded format for its annual postseason basketball tournament four years ago.


The Highlands Bluebirds basketball team (10-12 overall) took care of that goal with a huge 79-61 victory over the Bellevue Tigers (6-14) on Friday in Fort Thomas. Bellevue had beaten Highlands in each of the past two seasons to push the Bluebirds down to the fourth seed. The Bluebirds finished 3-1 in district action and will be the second seed in the district tournament if Newport Central Catholic wins either of its final two district games against Bellevue and Dayton. The Bluebirds also moved to 7-5 in 9th Region action and Bellevue dropped to 0-3 in district play.


"It feels really good to be 3-1 in the district," said Kevin Listerman, Highlands Head Coach. "Obviously, if things pan out, we will play Newport in the (36th District semifinals). That's no easy task. They're really talented. But I'd rather be in the 2-3 game than the 4-5 game. Our kids have earned that seed and they're excited about that."


The Bluebirds beat Dayton in the first round the last two years before losing to eight-time district champion Newport Central Catholic in the semifinals to end its season. Highlands took the third seed in 2013 beating Newport in the district semifinals the last year the Bluebirds made it to the 9th Region Tournament. This also marks the first time Highlands has recorded double-digit wins since going 12-16 during the 2012-13 season.


Highlands displayed the scoring balance Listerman and staff hope to see more of on a nightly basis. Guards Bryce Traylor and and Jacob Noe made five three-pointers each combining to go 10-of-17 from beyond the arc on their way to 21 points each.


The Bluebirds needed that because Bellevue drew up a major game plan to stop post Kyle Finfrock in the paint. The Tigers threw 1-3-1, 2-3 and Triangle-and-2 zones at Highlands.


"Bryce and Jacob really got great looks," Listerman said. "The best thing is we were patient in finding those looks. They didn't force them. Carl Schoellman was the same way so we did a great job of understanding how to attack their zone. We found our shooters and they knocked them down. That was huge because it opens things up inside for Kyle."


But the Bluebirds made 12-of-27 three-point shots for 44 percent and 28-of-59 shots for 47 percent overall. They also hit 11-of-13 free throws for 85 percent.


Highlands saw nine different players score. Listerman credited senior Morgan Race for coming off the bench and recording six points and seven rebounds.


Bellevue made 23-of-51 shots for 45 percent including 8-of-21 from three-point range for 38 percent. The Tigers also made 9-of-14 free throws for 64 percent.


Highlands finishes the season with six region games. The Bluebirds take on Covington Catholic (19-4) on Monday. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


Fort Thomas Matters Sports: Victories for Highlands Basketball

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  • 2 weeks later...
Does anyone know if the head coach of Bellevue is the same guy from the past couple of years? Also' date=' does anyone have any information on the team, I haven't followed too closely the past couple of years and was just wondering what the direction of the program has been. Thanks![/quote']


Same head coach. Does a very good job with the program.

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Coach Jim Hicks is in his 6th season as HC at Bellevue. This years team consists of 3-seniors / 4-juniors / 4-sophomores / 1-8th grader. Had eight seniors on the team last years. Only returned one starter from last years team.


Okay, thanks! So i would assume this year is somewhat of a reloading year? What were some of the seniors from last year? I'm glad to see it isn't a random draw for districts anymore as well.

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I would agree with your assumption. Next couple years could be bright for the Tigers.

Here is last years roster: one senior not listed quit before the end of the season.


44 Malachi Ashcraft F Jr. 13 Adam Hazeres G Jr.

22 Eric Atkins G So. 14 Brett Maehren G So.

30 Nick Baker F Sr. 12 Liam McCarthy F Jr.

35 Cameron Chase F Sr. 10 Tommy Ratterman F Fr.

31 Jason Craig Jr. 24 Bradley Reed F So.

23 Justin Fischer F Sr. 42 Andrew Scott F Sr.

3 Matthew Fryman G Sr. 2 Cody Strunk G Sr.

15 Brady Hayes G Sr.


Here is this years roster:

44 Malachi Ashcraft F Sr. 31 Daniel Hill F So.

3 Aaron Atkins G 8th 2 Chris Jones G So.

1 Eric Atkins G Jr. 14 Brett Maehren G Jr.

15 Austin Balch F Jr. 12 Liam McCarthy F Sr.

30 Matthew Barrett G Jr. 10 Tommy Ratterman F So.

13 Adam Hazeres G Sr. 22 Will Ryan F So.

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