GREEN — Doing it once could be blamed on an off night by the opponent, but beating that team twice eliminates all doubt.
Winning both games by double figures kills any excuse.
That’s what Green’s boys basketball team did Friday night with a 71-61 Suburban League victory over Highland. It was an encore to its 88-66 road victory earlier this season.
More importantly, the Bulldogs (9-4, 6-2) moved into a three-way tie for first place in the SL with the Hornets (9-5, 6-2) and Tallmadge (9-5, 6-2), which beat Revere 55-34.
Nicholas Reale got Green going early with three 3-pointers in the first quarter. When the senior guard wasn’t netting jumpers, Carson Corle was getting buckets in the paint for eight first-half points.
Reale finished with 14 points, while senior Corle totaled 12 and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds from his forward position.
“(Reale’s) three 3-pointers in the first quarter was big for us,” Green coach Mark Kinsley said. “Going inside was our emphasis tonight, and we wanted our guards to attack.”
Highland’s top two players couldn’t get it going early on. Brogan Scott entered as the SL’s scoring leader with a 20.1 average, but was limited to seven points in the first half. Point guard Tanner Houska entered at 13.6, but scored only three.
Houska finished with a quiet 15 points and five assists, while Scott tallied 19 points but needed a bunch of attempts and five free throws to get there.
The Bulldogs led 30-14 at halftime and showed why they lead the league in defense against the Hornets, who entered as the SL’s highest scoring team.
“When you don’t make shots, you make the other team look good,” Highland coach Michael Murphy said. “The physical play of their guards and forwards hurt us. We just didn’t adjust to their physical play in the first half.”
Highland trimmed its deficit to 41-30 when Alex Wood (6 points) hit a 3-pointer with 2:54 left in the third quarter. Another 3-pointer by Houska cut the margin to eight late in the quarter and the Hornets seemed to be gaining some momentum.
But the good feelings ended quickly for Highland when Green guard Austin Marciniak (game-high 23 points) beat the quarter-ending buzzer with a long 3-pointer from just a few steps across half court.
“That was a huge shot and a big momentum-killer because Highland had cut the lead to eight points, I think,” Kinsley said.
Green’s lead grew to 54-40 in the final quarter before the Hornets made one more run. Consecutive breakaway layups by Wood and Alec Withers (11 points) after a block and steal on the defensive end cut it to 58-49 with 2:30 left.
A 3-pointer by Highland’s Ben Hauser (7 points) made it 67-61 with 19 seconds left, but the Bulldogs closed with free throws as the Hornets were forced to foul.
Green was 23-for-33 from the foul line, while Highland went 14-for-17.
“We still control our destiny,” Murphy said. “We need to win all the games that we have left, and we are capable of doing that.”
|The Bulldogs also won the junior varsity contest 64-50. Zach Shultz led Green with 19 points, while Joe Wiencek scored 12 for Highland.|
Contact Kenneth Coleman at email@example.com.
Green 71, Highland 61
HIGHLAND 8 6 21 26 — 61
GREEN 15 15 16 25 — 71
Green — Kenton Keeslar 1-7-9, Carson Corle 4-4-12, John Davies 0-3-3, Austin Marciniak 8-4-23, Nicholas Reale 5-1-14, Landon Holl 3-4-10, Noah Glass 0-0-0. TOTALS: 21-23-71.
Highland — Alex Wood 2-0-6, Alec Withers 5-1-11, Brogan Scott 6-5-19, Ben Hauser 3-0-8, Tanner Houska 3-6-15, Kevin Greenhoe 0-2-2, Tyler Frederick 0-0-0, Zach Levine 0-0-0, Coltin Kinsey 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-14-61.
3-point goals — Reale 3, Marciniak 3, Houska 3, Scott 2, Wood 2, Hauser 2. Rebounds — Green 27 (Corle 8), Highland 12 (Scott 4). Assists — Green 13 (Keesler 5), Highland 12 (Houska 5). Records — Green (9-4, 6-2), Highland (9-5, 6-2). Junior varsity — Green 64, Highland 50.