Friday, March 23, 2001

Highlands advances to quarterfinals

Bluebirds will face Henderson Co. tonight

By Ray Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Highlands' Emily Owsley recoils from the defense of Perry County Central's Bertha Sebastian.
(AP photos)
| ZOOM |
        BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — It was a good thing the Highlands Bluebirds got to play a second half Thursday.

        The Ninth Region champions needed the final 16 minutes to eliminate Perry County Central 52-48 in the opening round of the girls Sweet Sixteen state tournament at Western Kentucky University's E.A. Diddle Arena.

        The Bluebirds meet Second Region champion Henderson County in the quarterfinals at 8:30p.m. today.

        Two words — quick turnaround — describe what Highlands did in the second half. The Ladybirds (24-9) survived a 20-4 second quarter and reversed a 27-22 halftime deficit into a 38-33 lead after three quarters.

        And quick turnaround also summarizes junior Tara Boothe's night — from two points in the first half to 18 for the game.

Tara Boothe
| ZOOM |
        The biggest hero, however, was freshman guard Abbi Gibson. She scored 19 points, including 12 in the first half.

        When Highlands lost senior Stephanie Ripberger to knee surgery, coach Luci Cecil went to a pair of freshmen, Gibson and Katie Konen.

        Gibson played more like a senior in Thursday's first quarter. Her 12 points included a pair of 3-pointers, and she also had two steals.

        One sequence in particular stood out. With a little more than a minute to go, Gibson stole the ball from Perry Central's Chasity Napier and hit an 8-footer to give Highlands an 18-7 lead after the first quarter.

        It was a good thing Gibson was scoring, because the Commodores' 2-3 zone defense bottled up Boothe.

        Highlands was just as tough on defense for the first eight minutes. The Ladybirds turned five Perry Central turnovers into nine points.

Coach Luci Cecil and Owsley
| ZOOM |
        Highlands was just as tough on defense for the first eight minutes. The Ladybirds turned five Perry Central turnovers into nine points.

        All of which meant nothing by the second quarter.

        Perry Central's balanced attack took over: nine points from junior Bertha Sebastian; five points from senior guard Kristie Miller; four points from eighth-grade center Britta Maggard.

        The result - a 20-2 run and a 27-20 Commodore lead with 1:57 left in the half.

        And what happened to the Ladybird offense? Konen missed two free throws, and senior guard Katie Winkler's field goal with 4:09 left in the half was the first Highlands points. Junior Emily Owsley's bucket with 33 seconds remaining was the only other scoring.

        Highlands was fortunate to be trailing by just 27-22 at halftime. The Ladybirds committed six turnovers in the second quarter, while Perry Central's bench outscored Highlands' 11-4.

        HIGHLANDS (24-8) - Gibson 8-12 0-2 19, Winkler 2-4 0-1 5, Konen 1-1 1-4 3, Hamel 0-1 1-4 1, Boothe 6-11 5-8 17, Owsley 3-4 1-2 7. Totals 20-34 8-21 52.

        PERRY COUNTY CENTRAL (28-4) - P. Sebastian 0-6 1-2 1, B. Sebastian 8-14 2-4 20, Brashear 0-1 0-0 0, Miller 3-10 2-2 9, Shouse 1-4 1-2 3, Hamilton 0-5 0-0 0, Napier 0-2 0-0 0, Davis 3-3 0-0 7, Baker 0-1 0-0 0, Maggard 3-7 2-2 8. Totals 18-53 8-12 48.

        Halftime—Perry County Central 27, Highlands 22. 3-point goals—Highlands 3-7 (Gibson 3-5, Winkler 0-1, Boothe 0-1), Perry Co. Central 4-11 (B. Sebastian 2-3, Miller 1-2, Hamilton 0-5, Davis 1-1). Fouled out—Miller. Rebounds—Highlands 26 (Boothe 8), Perry Co. Central 29 (Maggard 11). Assists—Highlands 13 (Hamel, Winkler 4), Perry Co. Central 6 (P. Sebastian, B. Sebastian 3). Total fouls—Highlands 14, Perry Co. Central 22. A—4,259.

Highlands - Henderson Co. scouting report
Sweet Sixteen schedule
Sweet Sixteen roundup
Boys basketball coverage
Girls basketball coverage

Sports Stories
Southern Cal KOs Kentucky, 80-76
USC happy to prevent UK-Duke
UK's Mr. Clutch became Mr. Invisible
Poignant ending for Smith & Son
Duke 76, UCLA 63
Maryland 76, Georgetown 66
Midwest Regional preview
South Regional preview
Lubbock prepares to welcome Knight
Men's NCAA pairings
Men's Sweet 16 pairings
Pitino reports to work bright and early
Women's NCAA pairings
Women's NCAA pairings
Elder ready to take on No. 1
Elder - Brookhaven scouting report
Ohio boys basketball scores
Ohio boys state tournament roundup
Ohio boys state pairings
Ohio boys tennis preview
Ohio boys volleyball preview
- Highlands advances to quarterfinals
Highlands - Henderson Co. scouting report
Kentucky girls Sweet Sixteen
Ky. girls Sweet Sixteen roundup
N.Ky. wrestling all-stars
Buckle Down Ben Spiral Stakes favorite
Dusing sets records in NCAA meet

Stanford too big for Bearcats, 78-65
Will Satterfield go pro?
Collins brothers were 1-2 punch
Hard work wasn't enough
Stanford knew what to do
UC Notebook
Martin breaks leg again
Baby, teaching, basketball make for real March Madness
Fernandez out of rotation equation
Rivera out to prove worth to Reds
Larkin making progress
Game report: Reds 16, Blue Jays (ss) 3