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Vinson scores 27 points, Highlands advances to state title game by defeating Ashland Paul Blazer

NKyTribune staff

LEXINGTON — Highlands began the season in January with a victory over Ashland Paul Blazer. The Bluebirds eliminated that same Tomcats squad in the state semifinals on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Vinson poured in a game-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds as Highlands coasted to a 66-50 win over Ashland Paul Blazer at Rupp Arena. The Bluebirds (29-4) extended their winning streak to 20 games and advanced to Saturday night’s state championship game against Elizabethtown.

Sam Vinson shoots a jumper against Ashland Paul Blazer defender Ethan Sellars (12) during Highlands’ 66-50 win on Saturday afternoon. (KHSAA photo)

Luke Muller added 15 points for Highlands, which shot 56.9 percent from the field. The Bluebirds outscored Ashland Paul Blazer 15-6 in the fourth quarter and held the Tomcats scoreless the final 5:19 of the game.

Vinson, the 6-foot-5 senior guard who earned most valuable player honors at the 9th Region Tournament last week, shot 12-for-21 from the field and blocked three shots against Ashland Paul Blazer. He also dished out four assists and collected four steals.

Oliver Harris finished with 10 points, four rebounds and two steals for Highlands, which opened the season with an 84-75 win over the Tomcats in Fort Thomas. Zach Barth added nine points, four assists and four rebounds.

Colin Porter led Ashland Paul Blazer with 15 points. The Tomcats (22-5) shot 36.5 percent from the field and were 9-for-28 from 3-point range.

Highlands held the Tomcats to just 2-for-15 shooting from beyond the arc in the second half.

Ethan Sellars finished with 13 points for Ashland Paul Blazer. Cole Villers — who scored 32 points in the first meeting with Highlands in January — added 12 points on Saturday. The Tomcats had won 13 straight games going into the state semifinals.

Highlands meets Elizabethtown (22-2) in the state championship game at 8 p.m. The Panthers posted a 69-53 win over Louisville Ballard in the other semifinal contest on Saturday.

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