GRANGER TWP. — In certain scenarios, adjustments are overrated.
The Highland boys basketball team threw all its eggs in one basket Tuesday. In the Hornets’ eyes, their run-and-jump press and size were eventually going to win out.
It took 2½ quarters, but that’s exactly what happened in a 65-50 Suburban League victory over Cloverleaf.
“We came into the locker room (at halftime) really frustrated, and Coach (Michael Murphy) just really got on us,” senior power forward Brennan Scott said.
“He told us he knew we were the better team and he knew that we have what it takes to beat this team by more than enough points.
“We just went out there, pushed the ball and played our game of basketball.”
Highland (11-7, 7-4), which is one victory from clinching its first winning season in eight years, grabbed momentum by the throat with a 14-0 run to end the third quarter, then used its three-man post game of 6-foot-7 Austin Adams, 6-5 Brogan Scott and 6-3 Brennan Scott and remarkable free throw shooting (25-of-29 for the game) to keep it.
The game-deciding run eventually reached 25-4 after Tanner Houska took a steal to the house to make it 55-38. The splurge was fueled by eight turnovers by the Colts (4-13, 2-9).
“It was all about more effort,” Brennan Scott said. “We were slow and lazy in the first half.”
Brennan Scott scored 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half, giving him 38 points in two career home games against Cloverleaf. Brogan Scott more than made up for missing his first six shots by scoring 10 of his 14 points off putbacks — he finished with a game-high 12 boards — while Adams was the Hornets’ most consistent player with 14 points and six rebounds.
Considering the Colts didn’t have a player taller than 6-3, Highland used a high-low with Adams feeding Brennan Scott and a triangle that incorporated Brogan Scott to dominate half-court sets in the second half.
The strategy worked to perfection, as the three-headed monster matched the entire Cloverleaf roster with 20 rebounds and came within five points of outscoring the Colts.
“It’s awesome because Austin Adams is probably one of the best passing big men in all of the Suburban League,” Brennan Scott said. “He really looks to give me the ball.”
Though Highland finished the game by outscoring the Colts 35-16, the first 20 minutes belong to cool, calm and collected Cloverleaf, which played strong half-court man defense, handled the press with ease and used unselfish play to take the lead.
Toledo football recruit Robby Buckwald scored 11 of his team-high 15 points in the second quarter, highlighted by an 8-0 personal run that put the Colts up 25-20. Sophomore point guard Cliff Collyer had three assists in the frame, which Cloverleaf won 22-14, and his layup in traffic made it 34-30 midway through the third quarter.
Unfortunately for the Colts, things fell a part in a hurry once Highland awoke.
“We had some spurts last week, too, against Revere, and we talked about playing four quarters,” Cloverleaf coach Marty Ryan said. “We haven’t really played four quarters yet. When we do, we’ll be pretty competitive.”
The Hornets were 1-of-1 at the free throw line in the first quarter, 8-of-10 in the second, 3-of-4 in the third and 13-of-14 in the fourth.
The Highland junior varsity drilled nine 3-pointers in a 58-30 victory. Kevin Greenhoe led the way with 14 points, while Braedon Hansen had six for Cloverleaf.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.