GRANGER TWP. — Behind a dominating inside combination and a quick start, the Highland girls basketball team easily dispatched cross-town rival Buckeye 50-16 Monday night.
The Hornets (2-1) jumped all over the Bucks (0-4) right out of the gate, pulling ahead 16-0 with 1:40 to play in the first quarter.
“We got out to a quick start defensively,” Highland coach Bernard Bolha said. “We played a little bit more up tempo and I think we were a little stronger at the basket than they were.”
The inside play of senior Anna Rose Wiencek (18 points, 12 rebounds) and sophomore Marlee Profitt (16, 10), who combined for 11 points during the opening run, was too much for Buckeye to handle inside.
“We just work so well together,” Profitt said. “We know where we are on the floor. We know what we can do together and what works.”
The duo combined for 34 points and 22 rebounds, doing the majority of their work down low while outscoring the Bucks by themselves and nearly outrebounding them (27-22).
“Their size really hurt us inside,” Buckeye coach Randy Haury said. “I lost my freshman post (Kaitlyn Hubeny) when she got hurt in the first half, so we were really light in the post. I’m basically playing a 5-foot-6 girl in the post.”
Courtney Styfurak finally broke the scoring drought for the Bucks when she split a pair of free throws with 1:28 left in the first quarter.
The Bucks rallied briefly at the start of the second quarter to close the gap to 20-11, but got no closer as Highland outscored them 30-5 from that point.
“We got out of our game and what we were supposed to do,” Profitt said. “Coach called a timeout and told us to get it back together and we worked the lead back up.”
The Hornets’ defense was strong all night, using the press to force 28 turnovers and limit the Bucks to 18 percent shooting (5-for-27).
“They are really outstanding with their defensive pressure,” Haury said. “We’ve been struggling shooting the ball — only a little above 11 percent for the year. We’ll go back to basics — shooting and dribbling drills and stuff like that.”
Highland won the junior varsity contest 43-13 behind 10 points from Christina Williams and eight from Alaina Monroe. Allison Wilk and Darby Leneghan each had three points for the Bucks.
Contact Chad Grant at email@example.com.