• Fred Main/News Danville’s Cam Miller (3) shoots past Highland defender Drew Santo (4) during their boys basketball game Friday at Highland. The Scots knocked off the Blue Devils, 44-25.
  • Fred Main/News Highland’s Branton Howard (2) floats a shot over the outstretched hands of Danville’s Wyatt Weckesser (24) during their boys basketball game Friday at Highland. The Scots beat the Blue Devils, 44-25.

 

SPARTA — Three straight 3-pointers turned a defensive slugfest into an easy victory for Highland on Friday.

The Scots’ triples sparked a 16-0 run in the second quarter and helped them pick up their first win of the season, a 44-25 victory over visiting Danville in Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference action.

“We made a couple of shots. It sounds extremely simple, but we see the ball go in a little more and the energy picks up, the bench effort is a little better; you can guard a little bit harder. When you play with a lead, you can do some different things,” said Highland coach Chris Powell. “I think that was the biggest thing — out guys stuck to the game plan. They did a good job sticking together, nobody bails out on each other. A couple of shots go in and next thing we know, we’ve got a lead and we’re feeling pretty good.”

After two quick 3-pointers from Danville to start the game, both offenses bogged down. The score was just 11-9 Highland with four minutes left in the first half when the Scots hit those outside shots. Landon Remmert hit the first one, then Branton Howard nailed two straight and the Scots were suddenly on fire offensively.

“We’ve been slow offensively all year. We have to keep our turnovers down and have great possessions every single time,” said Danville coach Matt Moore. “The second possession of the game, we took a minute off the clock and got a great shot. Then, after that I don’t think we had very good possessions the rest of the first half.”

The Scots (1-6 overall, 1-4 KMAC) scored the first six points of the second half to push the lead to 18 points (28-10). From there, it never got closer than 15 points, even though Danville (1-8, 0-6) seemed to get its rhythm back offensively in the fourth, getting to the free-throw line 10 times.

“We’re a very young and inexperienced team,” Moore said. “We’re still learning how to play basketball as a team. We’re learning how to stay focused for 32 minutes. We play a lot of freshmen and sophomores. We’re still learning how we should play. We’re getting there slowly. We’re gonna get better and we’re going to keep improving day by day, game by game.”

After starting the season slowly and dropping a couple of close games, Powell is happy his team picked up its first win.

“It would be really easy when you start out winless to mail things in and start looking to the future. But, these guys practice hard every day, they practice for each other. Nobody’s wanting to quit, nobody’s wanting to stop, everybody wants to keep learning and growing,” Powell said. “That was probably the closest to four quarters we’ve played in a game this year. I think with a young group, every possession matters, every quarter matters. I think they realize that.”

The Scots got three players in double figures on the night — 10 each from Branton Howard, Drew Santo and Jordan Bellamy. They also got five points and 10 rebounds off the bench from freshman Gavin Hankins.

Danville was led by Cam Miller, who had nine points. Hunter Elliott added seven points, while Darren Mickley had six. Wyatt Weckesser had two points and four rebounds.
Highland made it a clean sweep on the night with a 46-27 victory in the junior varsity game.
Garrett Fitzpatrick scored 10 points to lead the
Scots. Gavin DeBord and Gavin Hankins added nine each.
Danville was led by Logan Neitzelt, who scored seven points. Max Payne and Alec Johnson added five apiece.

Highland travels to Utica tonight to meet the Redskins, while Danville will host Loudonville on Tuesday.

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Fred Main: 740-397-5333 or fmain@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @http://twitter.com/mountvernonnews

 

 

 

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