YORK TWP. — It doesn’t take an electrical engineer to follow instructions, hustle and play defense.
Adam Bialosky won’t be confused with Nikola Tesla any time soon, but he was the spark Highland’s boys basketball team needed Thursday in a 53-46 non-conference victory over Buckeye.
Despite a horrendous 1-of-14 shooting exhibition in the first quarter, the Hornets (5-3) have their first five-game winning streak in six years.
“We went in there at halftime and followed the game plan,” said Bialosky, who finished with 10 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists. “Everyone did their job.
“The game plan was to do our thing because we’re the better team, but we didn’t start off playing that way. We had to get that into our minds and when we did, we started winning.”
No one took that to heart more than Bialosky. The 5-foot-10 senior defensive specialist scored seven of his career-high 10 points in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a personal 5-0 run that gave Highland a 43-37 lead.
“Bio” also fueled the Hornets’ comeback — they trailed by 12 in the first half — with a pair of third-quarter steals and assists, and took a key charge against the Bucks’ Garrett Beck (6 points, 3 assists) in the fourth.
“That was a big momentum shift,” Bialosky said of his mini-run. “Once that happened, everything started going our way.”
Junior Austin Adams took care of the rest. The 6-5 center had another bruising game in the paint with 16 points, 12 rebounds and a 6-of-9 showing at the free-throw line.
Freshman small forward Brogan Scott added 13 points and five rebounds despite struggling with his shot (5-of-14), while Jordan Frederick hit a big 3-pointer that gave Highland the lead for good early in the fourth quarter.
Most important, the Hornets, who entered this season with one returning letterwinner (Adams), didn’t fold down the stretch.
“It shows how much we’ve improved since the beginning of the year,” Adams said. “Early in the game, we’d be down and we wouldn’t come back at the end. We’re starting to learn, and that’s really helping us.”
Buckeye (2-4), which struggled against Highland’s not-that-special 2-3 zone in the second half, was led by 11 points and five rebounds apiece from senior guard Ben Checkelsky and Bill Doerge.
The Bucks missed their final 12 3-point attempts, were outrebounded 37-28 and had little answer against Adams on the block.
“We weren’t aggressive enough when they went to the zone,” Buckeye coach Matt Saunders said. “We settled, and we had some turnovers — bad turnovers against very little pressure — and we gave it to them.
“Our kids worked hard and did they best they could, but, unfortunately, it just didn’t go our way.”
According to Buckeye athletic director Glen Reisner, the game was moved up a day to save money. Had the teams played tonight, Buckeye would have had to pay janitors double.
• The loss was a costly one for former Buckeye standout Cory Reisner, who lost a bet to Mike Houska, the father of Highland guard Tanner Houska. Reisner would have won an expensive steak dinner with a Buckeye victory, but must now wash two of Mike Houska’s cars. Reisner and one of Houska’s other sons, Tyler, are roommates at Ashland University.
• Mike Bacho scored off an inbounds play with six seconds remaining to give Buckeye’s junior varsity a 50-48 win. Bacho had 19 points, while Brendan Popson had 17 for Highland.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.