High School Boys Basketball:
Tuesday, January 11, 2000
By Art Redd
During their successful start this season, the boy's basketball team at Highland High School has been gaining new respect in the Olympic Conference. They put that success and their undefeated record on the line against the always-formidable Bishop Eustace Crusaders. In a very entertaining second half, the Crusaders' patience turned the game around and held off Highland's charge at the end. Bishop Eustace went away with the 63-59 victory.
The tone was set early as the Tartans established the interior and jumped out to a 6-0 led. The first quarter featured Highland's Andrew Frazier and Mark Groark going 6-6 and accounted for all but Gene Mergenthal's points. It didn't take long for Eustace to incorporate their game plan to pull within three points. Highland held a six-point lead at the end of the quarter, shooting sixty-six percent from the floor.
Juan Rozier began to gain position down low and found himself open for the easy shot or at the line shooting two. The Crusaders watched their opponents open the biggest lead of the half, 22-12, early in the second quarter. But a 12-5 run by Eustace pulled them within three points at the end of the half. The Eustace run just didn't stop there. In fact, Highland didn't score a second half basket until two minutes remaining in the third quarter. After the 9-minute drought, the Crusaders went into the final quarter up 43-31.
During that third quarter, Bishop Eustace had opened up the largest lead of the game (13-points). Eustace was very patient in setting up the play and working the ball into Rozier. Along with their full court press, that defense was the key that held the Tartans to only six shots in the quarter. Sean Mulholland connected on two straight 3-pointers in the quarter and was 4 for 5 from the three-point arch.
The Tartans began to break that press and went on a 11-4 run that got them within five point with just under six minutes left in the game. Not to be out done, Omar Wellington along with Sanchez began working the offense to give Eustace a 59-50 lead with 1 minute remaining. But the Tartans wouldn't go away. Groark led a 9-1 mini-run for Highland that was capped off with Eric Tickles' breakaway basket to pull within one with eight ticks remaining on the clock. Eustace would convert on key free throws to seal the victory.
Photos by Art Redd
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