Highlands girls varsity basketball team wins regular season conference championship

The Lady Highlanders varsity basketball team hit the road on Tuesday to take on Nantahala and won 73-36, clinching the regular season conference championship.

The win over Nantahala put Highlands at a 5-0 conference record throughout the regular season. Highlands Coach Jake Page said he’s proud of the girls achievement but the season is not over.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Page. “I’m happy for the girls, they earned it. We worked hard but we’re not done yet. Cherokee is coming up and that’s going to be a big game.”

Highlands B Bryson shoots a layup against Nantahala.

The Lady Highlanders established a sizable lead early in the game against the Lady Hawks and Page said everyone stepped up to contribute to the win.

“I like to compete, and my girls have the same attitude,” said Page. “It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, winning or losing, starting or on the bench; you always have to be ready to go. This has always been one of our goals and I’m so proud of all of my girls.”

From left are Highlands Ava Schmitt and Brooklynn Houston boxing out for a rebound against Nantahala on Tuesday.

Highlands Brooklyn Houston said being regular season conference champs is a great way to send off the seniors on the team.

“It’s really exciting and we worked hard all season for it,” said Houston. “It’s nice to send the seniors out like that, they deserve it.”

Highlands senior Kedra McCall said it wasn’t a pretty win, but they’ll take it.

“At halftime, Coach said he’s not going to tell us what we’re doing wrong because we all knew,” she said. “We were all aware we had a rough first half and we came out and played our game in the second.”

Highlands Kedra McCall blocks a Nantahala pass on Tuesday.

McCall added that winning the regular season conference championship felt amazing.

“It’s awesome to end my career on a note like that,” she said. “We’ve gone undefeated in conference and we plan on keeping it that way. We’ve shown who we are this season. We’ve had rough patches, but no matter what we just learn from it and play as a team.”

Highlands senior Bailey Schmitt said it’s great to win the title as a senior.

“It’s exciting,” said Schmitt. “I hope we keep winning like we have the past couple of games and keep up that streak.”

From left are Highlands Ezra Branham and Bailey Schmitt shutting down any hopes of making it to the hoop.

Highlands Jordan Carrier said going 5-0 in regular season conference was tough.

“It feels good and it wasn’t easy,” said Carrier. “We beat Hiwassee Dam twice and they’re tough. We want to win out the rest of the season and win the conference tournament.”

Highlands Hayley Borino with a no-look pass while driving to the basket.

Highlands takes on Blue Ridge on Feb. 14 at home, also Senior Night. Carrier said every game against the Lady Bobcats is a challenge.

“We hope to win every game, but it’s more of a mind game with Blue Ridge to see who’s tougher,” she said.

Highlands next plats against Cherokee at home on Wednesday after Friday’s game was rescheduled due to weather.

Highlands Julia May Schmitt goes for a rebound on Tuesday away against Nantahala.

Highlands Ava Schmitt on a fast break against Nantahala.

Highlands Lilly Bryson keeps the ball moving along the perimeter.

Highlands Reese Schmitt pulls up short and slows things down after stealing the ball against Nantahala.

Highlands High School cheerleaders traveled to the away game against Nantahala to support the Lady Highlanders on Tuesday.

Highlands Coach Jake Page gives positive encouragement from the sidelines.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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