BATH TWP. — Forcing turnovers is oftentimes secondary to the war of attrition.
The Highland boys basketball team prefers to implement run-and-jump and diamond presses to speed up the game. The main objective is to get the ball back without a shot being taken, but, more importantly, also grind away at opponent’s endurance.
The strategy is deadly against thin-benched teams. Revere found out Tuesday in a 74-55 Suburban League defeat.
Highland (3-1, 1-1) led by just four points late in the third quarter, but held the Minutemen (0-3, 0-2) to 1-of-11 shooting in the fourth simply because Revere’s seven-man rotation ran out of gas.
“We hit some big shots and worked as a team better,” said Hornets small forward Ben Hauser, who scored a career-high 20 points. “We were able to get stops on defense better than previous games, so it was all just energy.
“It was a lot of rebounding and going after loose balls. Hustle plays won us the game.”
Pseudo center Brogan Scott led the charge with 16 of his season-high 25 points and seven of his team-high 11 rebounds in the second half. Gunner Hauser notched 17 points in the first half almost exclusively off wide-open transition looks, while All-Gazette point guard Tanner Houska had 13 points, a career-high 12 assists and four steals.
Highland was outrebounded 26-13 in the first half and consistently plagued by poor transition defense that resulted in wide-open looks from athletic Revere power forward Zach Lalkowski (17 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists) and long-range specialist Teddy Hughes (19, 5 3-pointers), but improved both weaknesses drastically in the fourth to pull away.
“We started rebounding better in the second half and especially late in the game,” Scott said. “We got back on ‘D’ and stopped their fast break.”
Up 40-31 at halftime, the Hornets made a simple adjustment by attacking the Minutemen’s matchup 2-3 zone down the middle. The better ball movement in the half court opened up the game for Scott, who became the 19th player in school history to reach 600 career points on a 3-pointer in the third quarter.
The 6-foot-5 junior scored nine points in the frame. He then came up with the biggest momentum-changing play in the fourth when he grabbed a Houska miss and powered up a layup with his back to the basket to make it 65-52.
Scott then made three of his final four free throws on a night in which the Hornets made 15-of-21 (.714).
“Brogan was good,” Hauser said. “We got him the ball and he made big shots.”
Revere opened the game with a 1-2-2 trap that Houska promptly picked apart. Hauser was the main beneficiary in transition with two 3-pointers and two layups off Houska feeds.
Hauser kept the pace, as the unheralded 5-11 junior, who had 31 varsity points to his name entering the night, added seven more points in the second quarter.
Not to be outdone, Hauser drilled another three while being fouled in the third and blocked an early fourth-quarter layup attempt by Revere’s Jordan Holtkamp.
“(Hauser) was hitting his open shots, and that really helped a lot,” Scott said.
Though Highland was frustrated with not making the score lopsided earlier, it will take the end result after getting crushed 88-66 by Green on Friday.
The Hornets have their playing style to thank, as Revere essentially played with six players because starting center Dezmond Rozek (4 points, 5 rebounds), who was averaging 14.0 points, was in foul trouble all night.
“They kept it close, and it’s frustrating because we wanted to get the (big) lead and try to keep it there,” Scott said. “We just took good shots, rebounded better and got back on ‘D’ so they couldn’t run their press break.”
The Hornets were 9-for-20 from 3-point range. Hauser was 4-for-8.
• Houska had five points, six assists, two rebounds and a steal in the first quarter.
• Highland won the junior varsity game 49-39 behind 13 points from Issac Matejin. Revere is coached by Chance Farnsworth, who is 11th in Hornets history with 704 career points.
Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or firstname.lastname@example.org.