Saturday, January 06, 2001

Highlands 56, Dixie Heights 55


Rider boosts Bluebirds to 7th victory

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer contributor

        EDGEWOOD - At 5-foot-10, Mylor Rider is the second-smallest player on the Highlands roster. He also is the biggest reason the Bluebirds are 7-1 after Friday's 56-55 overtime win at Dixie Heights.

        Rider scored six of his eight points in the extra session to cap Highlands' comeback. The Bluebirds trailed by 12 points in the third quarter.

        “We played decent,” Rider said. “We should be 8-0, but at least we're not 6-2.”

        Sophomore center Ross Neltner led Highlands with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and senior forward Gino Guidugli added 17 points and seven boards.

        But the Bluebirds would have lost 2 if not for Rider.

        First, his 3-pointer 14 seconds into the fourth quarter cut Dixie's lead to 36-34. Guidugli scored 10 of the next 12 points.

        After Neltner hit both ends of a 1-and-1 13 seconds into the overtime, Rider hit one of two free throws with 2:46 to go. He hit two more free throws with 48.1 seconds remaining, stole a pass from Dixie junior guard Kory Lonergan and drove for a layup with 37 seconds remaining.

        “(Rider) had two big steals in the overtime,” Highlands coach John Messmer said. “... Defensively, we made some stops, we got some turnovers.”

        Overall, Rider produced five points and two steals.

        “They kept telling me to shoot, the coaches did,” Rider said.

        Highlands and Dixie both had 17 turnovers. The shooting statistics were comparable: 21-of-40 for Highlands, 22-of-48 for Dixie. Both teams had 27 rebounds.

        But the first thing Dixie coach Scott Draud saw was the disparity in free throws. Highlands made 11 of 23, while his Colonels were 4-of-7.

        “In a game this tight and this close, that's a big stat,” Draud said.

        Draud certainly didn't like what he saw the opening three minutes of the first quarter, either. Two turnovers and a missed shot led to a 6-0 Bluebirds lead.

        The Colonels calmed down the rest of the period. Sophomore guard Russ Bramlage's reverse layup and 3-pointer helped Dixie in a 12-2 run over the next 4:40.

        Highlands' guards didn't score but three points in the second quarter, and it hurt. A Derrik Moeves 3-pointer was the only scoring from the backcourt.

        Highlands stayed close nonetheless. Two points from Kevin Miller closed Dixie's lead to 19-18 with 3:02 to go in the first half.

        A pair of Matt O'Toole 3-pointers (he led Dixie with 18 points) helped the Colo nels to a 34-22 lead with 5:19 left in the third quarter.

        Highlands finished the third quarter with a 9-2 run, Guidugli scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, and Neltner's field goal and foul shot gave the Bluebirds a 49-47 lead with 2:28 left in regulation.

        “Gino did a heck of a job,” Messmer said. “In the overtime, we did a good job of covering down in the low area. We were getting beat in the first half.”

        HIGHLANDS (56) — Rider 2 3 8, Forbes 1 0 2, Miller 2-0 4, Moeves 3 1 7, Guidugli 6-3 17, Neltner 7 4 18. Totals: 21 11 56.

        DIXIE HEIGHTS (55) — O'Toole 7 0 18, Lonergan 2 0 4, J. Jones 1 0 3, R. Bramlage 5 0 11, J. Bramlage 4 4 13, D. Jones 3 0 6. Totals: 22 4 55.

        Highlands ....... 8 14 9 18 7-56

        Dixie Heights ....... 12 13 11 13 6-55

       

        Three-point goals: H-Guidugli 2, Rider; DH-O'Toole 4, J. Jones, R. Bramlage, J. Bramlage. Records: H 7-1, DH 9-4.

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