GRANGER TWP. — It doesn’t always have to be pretty as long as it goes in.
Highland junior Alex Wood’s awkward-looking, from-the-side, below-the-ribs flicking shot isn’t pretty, but it was a thing of beauty Friday.
With two monster 3-pointers, Wood helped the Hornets eke out a 54-53 Suburban League nailbiter over Copley.
“I’ve been shooting like that my whole life,” Wood said. “I shoot a lot and I trust my shot. My teammates got me the ball and they went in. They were big shots, probably my biggest.”
With the Hornets (8-4, 4-3) trailing 46-45, Wood got his chance to be a hero and came through big time. The 6-foot-2 guard took two shots all night — both from long range on back-to-back possessions — and both went in.
Wood entered the game with 18 points on the season, meaning he got one-third of that Friday in a 2:40 span.
“We’ve been begging him to shoot all season,” Highland coach Michael Murphy said. “He’s got an awkward-looking shot, but he’s a good shooter. We’re on Alex Wood all the time — players and coaches — for him to shoot the ball.”
“He hit two huge threes against us,” Copley coach Mark Dente said. “Those back-to-back threes really hurt us.”
Wood’s six points gave Highland a 49-46 lead. They couldn’t have come in a bigger spot because Aregergos Turner (14 points) buried his fourth 3-pointer for the Indians (4-7, 3-4) on the very next possession.
A basket by Brogan Scott (13 points, 8 rebounds) and a free throw by Tanner Houska (16 points) eased the margin back to three. Jalyn Tyler (16 points, 7 rebounds) answered for Copley and cut the margin to 52-51.
Wood made another huge play on the Hornets’ next possession when he dished a sweet pass to a wide-open Brennan Scott, who converted the basket and pushed the lead back to three.
“We were running a set play and they switched, and the big guy Brennan Scott was wide open,” Wood said. “I got him the pass and he scored.”
Both defenses stepped up and made critical stops in the final 1:40, as the stage was set for an exciting finish.
The Indians’ Kenny Paramore missed a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left. Highland’s Austin Adams missed the front end of a one-and-one a second later, and Tyler missed his one-and-one attempt with 8 ticks left.
Paramore came out of a last scrum with the rebound and Copley had one last chance.
Instead of looking for 3-point specialist Turner, Paramore powered up for a contested shot to bring the score to 54-53.
Houska, who scored 15 of the Hornets’ 30 first-half points, hauled in the inbounds pass and escaped past half court to finally run out the clock.
|Copley won the junior varsity contest 53-46 behind 26 points from Justin Hovorka. Kevin Greenhoe led Highland with 11.|
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.
Highland 54, Copley 53
COPLEY 14 15 15 9 — 53
HIGHLAND 19 11 13 11 — 54
Copley — DeAire Andrew 5-2-12, Jalyn Tyler 8-0-16, Kenny Paramore 4-1-9, Aregeros Turner 5-0-14, Todd Williams 1-0-2, Troy Brown 0-0-0, Brandon Chillious 0-0-0, Desmond Hodoh 0-0-0, L.J. Campbell 0-0-0. TOTALS: 23-3-53.
Highland — Brogan Scott 3-5-13, Brennan Scott 4-0-8, Austin Adams 1-1-3, Jordan Frederick 1-0-3, Tanner Houska 6-4-16, Austin Casenhiser 2-0-5, Alex Wood 2-0-6, Coltin Kinsey 0-0-0, Myles Houska 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-10-54.
3-point goals — Turner 4, Wood 2, Bro. Scott 2, Frederick, Casenhiser. Rebounds — Copley 20 (Tyler 7), Highland 24 (Bro. Scott 8). Assists — Copley 14 (Paramore, Turner 4), Highland 12 (Bro. Scott, Wood 3). Records — Highland (8-4, 4-3), Copley (4-7, 3-4). Junior varsity — Copley 53, Highland 46.