Highlands boys basketball posts loss in second game of the season


Tessa Killen

Junior Oliver Harris scores a 2-point basket despite a blocking attempt from a St. Henry athlete.

On January 9, starting at 11 a.m., the Highlands boys freshman, junior varsity (JV), and varsity basketball teams took on the Saint Henry District High School Crusaders at the Highlands High School home court. 

The Bluebirds planned on starting their winning streak after their win against Ashland Blazer High School on Monday night, but the Crusaders wanted to get a win under their belt after their loss against Lexington Catholic High School. However, that isn’t the only reason why stakes were high in this match. Last year, on February 19, 2020, the Crusaders’ varsity team won against the Bluebirds with a final score of 68-51. Because of this, Highlands had a lot to prove in today’s match. 

“We for sure want to win to get back for that loss we took at St. Henry last year,” senior Daniel Buchanan stated before gameplay. “The driving factor in each game is to be the best team on the court at all times. As long as we play smart and work hard, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

The momentum started strong as the freshman teams took the court at roughly 11 a.m. The game began with Highlands taking an early lead, and ultimately winning with a final score of 52-38. Later on, the JV Bluebirds battled for a lead throughout their close game. In the end, however, the Crusaders won with a final score of 40-36.

The varsity team started strong in the first quarter as they took on a slim but early lead with a score of 11-6. With strong defensive tactics from juniors Oliver Harris and Leyton Read, the Bluebirds were able to hold onto their five-point lead for the remaining time in the first quarter as both teams battled for rebounds and chances to earn extra points with three-point shots. The first quarter ended with a final score of 17-12, Highlands. 

As the athletes made the swift transition to the second quarter, their defensive plays intensified. For the first half of the second quarter, neither team was able to score any points. However, Highlands gained their offensive momentum and extended their lead further as the time lapsed. The Crusaders attempted to close the score gap, but the Bluebirds were not letting their defense down despite upping their offensive game at the same time. As the second quarter ended and halftime commenced, Highlands led by ten points, the score 34-24.

After halftime, St. Henry tried to close the score gap again, but was only met with two consecutive three-point shots from junior Zachary Barth and senior Luke Muller. With every three-point attempt, the benched athletes on the Highlands side were determined to have their supportive cheers heard. However, as the third quarter came to an end, the Crusaders came back with a vengeance and shortened Highlands ten-point score gap to four points, the score 51-47.

From there, the Crusaders tied it up at 51-51, only 30 seconds into the fourth quarter. Shortly after, they took the lead and ran with it, leaving Highlands in the dust. Halfway through the fourth quarter, it seemed as though all hope was lost as the Crusaders were up 68 – 59, but senior Sam Vinson brought back the fight in his team with a simple two-point basket. From there, Highlands came back and fought hard for the lead, ultimately tying up the score at 73-73 with only two minutes left in the game. In a swarm of foul shots, rebounds, and swishing basket nets, it seemed as though Highlands would win as they were up 80-77. However, the Crusaders scored a three-point basket with only two seconds on the clock, tying the score once again at 80-80. 

Highlands quickly called a timeout, giving them the opportunity for a throw-in since they were on St. Henry’s side of the court. Harris took position underneath St. Henry’s basket, hoping to throw it down the court to a far-off teammate, but a Crusader blocked it. Within two seconds, that same Crusader scored, giving St. Henry the win with a final score of 82-80. 

Despite the loss, the Bluebirds are still on track towards their goal of winning their region and playing at Rupp Arena with their determined performance and “it’s not over ‘til it’s over” attitude.

The freshman team will face off against Pendleton County High School on Monday, January 11, and the JV and varsity teams will go up against Covington Catholic High School on January 23. Be sure to tune in and support the Birds!