June 24, 2016


Boys basketball: Angry Hornets are all fired up

GRANGER TWP. — Highland boys basketball coach Michael Murphy needn’t have worried about his team coming out flat.

After losing by two points in an emotional season opener at Brecksville on Saturday and with Suburban League rival Green coming up on Friday, the Hornets dominated from start to finish Tuesday en route to a 67-35 non-league victory over Parma.

Highland’s Tanner Houska scores between Parma’s Greg Smalley, left, and Anthony Schmook in the first quarter. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Highland (1-1) got 15 points apiece from forwards Brennan Scott and Brogan Scott, six points, seven rebounds and four assists from center Austin Adams, six points and six assists from point guard Tanner Houska and an impressive eight points and six boards off the bench from big man Myles Houska.

“We lost a big, emotional game on Saturday and we have Green on Friday, and here’s Parma at our place on a Tuesday,” Murphy said. “I was very pleased. These kids came out with some fire.

“It was a test for our kids, and I was very concerned,” he added. “We had a lot of emotion at practice yesterday, but they’re kids, so I was concerned. But I knew in the first couple of minutes we weren’t taking anything for granted.”

Murphy also knew Brogan Scott, who sprained his left ankle in a non-contact drill Monday at practice, was OK. The Hornets considered sitting the talented sophomore, but decided to start him when he felt good warming up.

“I told him if I didn’t like what I saw in the first minute, he was coming out,” Murphy said. “I think that was the adrenaline he needed.”

Scott had five points in the first period and eight more in the second, then sat out the entire fourth quarter after Highland went up 50-25 after three.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to play,” the 6-foot-5 small forward said, “but once I got out there, it was no problem.

“We got out and ran a lot more. The first game (a 42-40 loss) was slow paced, but tonight we got defensive stops and were able to fastbreak more off their turnovers.”

Using full-court pressure and capitalizing on Parma (0-2) mistakes, Highland raced to an 8-0 lead in the first 3:38 and was up 23-7 after a 12-0 spurt that spanned the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second.

The 6-4, 260-pound Myles Houska was phenomenal in that run, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds.

“He’s a space eater,” Murphy said. “He did a nice job grabbing every loose ball and finishing. He’s a great role player for us and the type of guy we need.”

The Hornets led 34-10 late in the first half before settling for a 34-14 advantage at intermission, and 6-3 senior power forward Brennan Scott kept them safely ahead with eight points in the second half.

Highland also got five points apiece from Austin Casenhiser and Coltin Kinsey, a pair of reserve guards whose shooting will be needed when the Hornets start running into more zone defenses.

The Redmen, who finished 7-14 a season ago, got seven points and six rebounds off the bench from Skylar Pastva and seven points and four assists from point guard Zach Toth.


Ben Hauser had 15 points and Alec Withers added 11 as Highland rolled to a 49-37 win in the junior varsity game.

• The Hornets won the freshman game 49-25 behind 14 points from Isaac Matejin and 10 from Andrew Klafczynski.

• More Highland numbers were wrong than were right on the varsity roster provided at the gate.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.