SPARTA — The Highland Scots scored 30 points in the second half, compared to 12 from the Danville Blue Devils, allowing the Scots to add some separation and pick up the 57-35 win at home Tuesday.
“I just wanted them to stay aggressive,” Highland coach Chris Powell said of his message at halftime. “I just wanted them to keep running the things that we’re running and trust in each other.”
Like bookends, the Scots scored 16 points in both the first and fourth quarters. Andrew Wheeler was dialed in from deep, draining two threes in the opening period, leading Highland’s five scorers in the first quarter. On the other end of the floor, the Blue Devils’ chances were limited. A bucket at the buzzer by Skyler Moore gave the visitors a nine-point first quarter and they went into the second quarter down seven.
“We couldn’t get going,” Danville coach Matt Moore said. “Our goal was to come out and get a fast start and we didn’t do that. We gave up some open looks and we didn’t communicate defensively like I wanted to, or like we should have.”
The Blue Devils spread the floor in the second quarter and fed the hot hand, Skyler Moore. He had eight points in the second quarter, with two made threes, and Danville outpaced Highland 14-11 in the second.
“We got the ball in the hands of our shooters and guys that can score,” coach Moore said of the second-quarter effort. “I thought we executed pretty well in the second quarter, but we definitely lost that in the second half.”
The rolls reversed again coming out of the break. Highland notched 14 points in the third quarter, led by seven points from Mack Anglin, who drained a three. Four points from Corbin Hazen led the Blue Devils, but Danville could only muster nine points. An Anglin bucket did push the lead to double digits (37-27) with 3:17 to go in the third, but the Blue Devils went on a bit of a run to head into the fourth down 41-32.
In the fourth, Highland was operating at a high level on both ends of the floor, pouring in another 16 points, while limiting Danville to three points. Wheeler again found his touch from range, knocking down another two shots from behind the arc to finish the fourth with eight points. Anglin accounted for another two buckets in the period. Danville was limited to only three points, all from the stripe.
“We didn’t do a good job being mentally tough,” Moore said. “Some things didn’t go our way that we thought should have and we just lost our focus.”
The 57 points for Highland was the most the team has gotten since a double-overtime loss Dec. 4 against Centennial, when the Scots scored 58.
“I talked to our guys. Patience and discipline are not negative words,” Powell said of the offensive output for the Scots. “It’s about knowing how and when to execute and when to run. … The guys trusted each other. They had great patience. They had great discipline and they were really deliberate with what they did. That just opens things up.”
Anglin led the Scots with 20 points, which he paired with 11 boards, three assists and a steal.
Wheeler used his four 3-pointers to finish with 14 points, five boards and three dimes.
“It’s not just them scoring, but it’s also them getting other guys to score, distributing and helping each other out,” Powell said.
Noah Dado chipped in eight points, five boards and a block, while Chase Carpenter had six points, a board, an assist and a team-high two steals. Ian Taylor notched four points, with Jordan Bellamy and Ty Stiffler accounting for the remaining five.
Moore was the only Blue Devil in double figures, racking up 14 points, two rebounds, an assist and two steals. Corbin Hazen just missed the mark with nine points, seven boards, two assists, a steal and a block. Ethan Hawk and Dylan James each had six points in the contest, with Hawk kicking in five rebounds and James accounting for a rebound, two assists and a steal.
The loss dropped the Blue Devils to 5-8 on the year with a 2-6 mark in the Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference. Danville returns to action Friday at home against Northmor, starting with JV action at 6 p.m. With the win, the Scots remain atop the league standings with a 7-6 overall mark, but a 7-1 record against conference foes. Highland has a tough road matchup Friday against Centerburg, who is second in the league. JV action against the Trojans tips at 6 p.m.
“It gives us the mentality that we are still in the driver’s seat,” Powell said of the win. “It allows us the opportunity to stay in control of things.”
“It gives us the mentality that we are in the driver’s seat. It allows us the opportunity to stay in control of things.” Chris Powell, Highland Head Coach