Girls Basketball

Bulldogs blow by Knights in conference opener

Highland senior Rece Portell, left, wrestles for the ball with Triad senior Brooke Rensburger during the second quarter of the Bulldogs’ 65-30 win over the host Knights Thursday.
Highland senior Rece Portell, left, wrestles for the ball with Triad senior Brooke Rensburger during the second quarter of the Bulldogs’ 65-30 win over the host Knights Thursday. dfussner@bnd.com

The Highland girls basketball team hit its stride en route to a 65-30 victory at Triad on Thursday to open up in defense of its four consecutive Mississippi Valley Conference championships.

“I like the way we played,” Bulldogs coach Mike Arbuthnot said. “We had some real good practices this week. Kids are starting to understand exactly what we are trying to do.”

Despite winning four of five games to start to the season at the Salem Thanksgiving Tournament, Arbuthnot said the team had some issues with running its transition offense.

But that was not a problem for Highland (5-1) against the Knights (3-2) in what was the MVC opener for both teams.

“We got out after it defensively and created some turnovers, and shared the ball real well in the offense,” Arbuthnot said. “I thought the kids played well together and put together a real nice ballgame tonight.”

The Bulldogs, who knocked down nine 3-pointers, placed three players in double figures. Sophomore Ellie Brown (19 points), junior Mae Riffel (16) and senior Rece Portell (14) combined to score 51 of Highland’s total output.

Triad was led by junior Caleigh Miller, who had eight points.

“That was probably one of the top games that I’ve had, and my teammates encouraged me, so it felt really good,” Riffel said of her career-high 16 points. “We feel like we are playing better together now. We really went on a run, and we were pumped. It was an all-around good team effort.”

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