GRANGER TWP. — Center Andrew Francesconi gave Highland all sorts of problems Friday as Tallmadge built a first-half lead.
In the second half, Brogan Scott and the Hornets’ defense solved Francesconi’s riddle and won 53-45 in Suburban League boys basketball action.
Francesconi (21 points, 14 rebounds) was a one-man show for 16 minutes, knocking down 15 points and hauling in nine rebounds as Tallmadge (3-2, 1-1) entered the locker room with a 28-21 lead.
Once Scott took over defensive responsibility on the 6-foot-4 post, things started swinging back to the Hornets (4-1, 1-1).
Francesconi had just six points and five rebounds in the second half, including just one point over the game’s final 9 minutes. Highland also held 21-point scorer Colten Stricker to six points.
Scott’s defensive effort was contagious, as Highland forced 10 turnovers and limited Tallmadge to 7-for-31 shooting (23 percent) in the second half.
“The defense helped,” Scott said. “Then we just got out and ran and started getting easy baskets.”
Spurred by the defense, Highland went on a 15-5 run to start the third quarter.
“We really just picked up our energy in the second half,” said point guard Tanner Houska, who had 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists. “We kind of came out flat on defense, which led to slow possessions on offense. We used our defense to pick up our energy in the second half.”
Houska converted an old-fashioned three-point play to move Highland in front 35-33.
Scott (18 points, 11 rebounds), who scored half of his points during the third quarter, got hot from the floor and had a five-point burst to key the Highland run.
Houska and Scott combined to score 24 of Highland’s 32 second-half points and teamed with Alex Wood (6 rebounds) to help regain control of the glass after Francesconi seemed to pull down every missed shot in the first half.
“Our offense was helped out by our defense,” Wood said. “We started getting some stops and started pushing the ball. We were resilient and persevered after we had a tough start. We weathered the storm and came out in the second half and started playing better.”
|Highland used balanced scoring to win the junior varsity game 49-42. Ethan Yerian led the Hornets with 10 points, while Tyler Duben led the Blue Devils with 15.|
Contact Chad Grant
TALLMADGE 17 11 9 8 — 45
HIGHLAND 9 12 17 15 — 53
Tallmadge — Nate Bickar 2-0-6, Colten Stricker 3-0-6, Andrew Francesconi 5-8-21, Jarrett Ross 0-0-0, Cole Baker 0-0-0, Anthiny Miller 0-0-0, Justin Cambria 6-0-12, Joe Vassalotti 0-0-0, Niko Skeriotis 0-0-0, Jordan Skeriotis 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-8-45.
Highland — Alec Withers 1-1-3, Alex Wood 0-0-0, Brogan Scott 5-6-18, Ben Hauser 1-1-3, Tanner Houska 3-11-17, Kevin Greenhoe 2-0-5, Zach Levine 1-3-5, Coltin Kinsey 0-0-0, Billy Kirchner 0-0-0, Tyler Frederick 0-2-2. TOTALS: 13-24-53.
3-point goals — Francesconi 3, Bickar 2, Scott 2, Greenhoe. Rebounds — Tallmadge 33 (Francesconi 14), Highland 30 (Scott 11). Assists — Tallmadge 6 (Francesconi, Baker 2), Highland 7 (Houska, Wood 3). Records — Highland (4-1, 1-1), Tallmadge (3-2, 2-1). Junior varsity — Highland 49, Tallmadge 42.