GRANGER TWP. — Fans were treated to lights-out shooting Friday in a boys basketball game between Highland and Green.
Unfortunately for Hornets supporters, most of the swishes were by the Bulldogs.
Green shot the ball like it was on its home court, tallying 10 makes from 3-point land while cruising to an 88-66 road win in the Suburban League opener for both teams.
Seven of the long balls came during the first half and no player was hotter than Austin Marciniak (20 points). The junior guard made four 3-pointers in the first quarter alone. Kenton Keeslar (13 points) contributed three 3-pointers, while Dan Pollock (6 points) and Daniel Stopp hit two and one in the half, respectively.
“They were on fire from the floor,” Highland coach Michael Murphy said. “More than that, they pushed us around and were more physical than us. We didn’t respond.”
The Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0) did a good job of collapsing Highland’s defense with penetration before finding open shooters on the perimeter, which led to way too many uncontested shots. Green had 19 assists on the night, with 14 coming in the first half.
No player dished the ball better than Green point guard Nicholas Reale. The senior earned a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 10 assists.
“We did a good job of sharing the ball and I was able to find the open guy,” Reale said. “The coaches have been telling the guards to penetrate and kick out. We really work on our shooting and we got some open looks tonight.”
Even with the shooting barrage, Highland (2-1, 0-1) trailed only 21-18 at the end of the first quarter. Junior Brogan Scott (22 points, 10 rebounds) and Alec Withers (18 points) kept it close with 13 first-half points apiece.
It was a career high in points for Withers, who also had five assists for the Hornets, but only the loss was on the senior’s mind after the game.
“They outworked us,” Withers said. “A lot of it was because of effort. They outhustled us and we let it happen.”
Green jumped ahead 37-28 when Marciniak found Pollock for a 3-pointer with 2:13 left in the second quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Withers and senior Ben Hauser (12 points) cut it to 37-34, but Green went on to score the final seven points of the quarter for a 43-34 halftime lead.
Junior guard Tanner Houska, who has a 21-point game this season, was held scoreless in the first half. He finished with eight points and a team-high six assists.
“They backed off of him and protected the lane,” Murphy said of Green’s defense against Houska. “It frustrated him.”
The Bulldogs outscored Highland 20-12 in the third quarter. After Houska’s first basket at the 6:57 mark, Green went on a 20-7 run to blow it open and close the quarter up 63-46.
“We talked about coming out with a big start in the third quarter,” Green coach Mark Kinsley said. “We wanted to get some stops on defense and expand the lead.”
Highland scored 20 points in the final frame, but it allowed 25 by the Bulldogs. The score was 83-61 with 2:18 remaining, which led to both coaches subbing in some reserves to play out the clock.
Carson Corle and Noah Glass also reached double figures in scoring for Green with 14 and 10. The Bulldogs held a 23-21 rebounding edge, but the Hornets committed just seven turnovers to Green’s 10.
“We didn’t come out with passion,” Murphy said. “Our effort just wasn’t there.”
Contact Kenneth Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green 88, Highland 66
GREEN 21 22 20 25 — 88
HIGHLAND 18 16 12 20 — 66
Green — Nicholas Reale 5-2-12, Austin Marciniak 7-2-20, Casey Perch 1-0-2, Kenton Keeslar 5-1-13, Carson Corle 7-0-14, Noah Glass 3-4-10, John Davies 3-0-6, Dan Pollock 2-0-6, Landon Holl 1-0-2, Daniel Stopp 1-0-3, Matthew Reppa 0-0-0. TOTALS: 35-8-88.
Highland — Ben Hauser 5-0-12, Alex Wood 0-0-0, Brogan Scott 8-4-22, Alec Withers 7-3-18, Tanner Houska 2-4-8, Tyler Frederick 0-0-0, Billy Kirchner 0-0-0, Kevin Greenhoe 0-1-1, Coltin Kinsey 2-0-5. TOTALS: 24-12-66.
3-point goals — Marciniak 4, Keeslar 3, Pollock 2, Stopp, Scott 2, Hauser 2, Withers, Kinsey. Rebounds — Green 23 (Reale, Davies 6), Highland 21 (Scott 10). Assists — Green 19 (Reale 10), Highland 17 (Houska 6). Records — Green (1-1, 1-0), Highland (2-1, 0-1). Junior varsity — Green 40, Highland 29.