Highland Pulls Away For Non Conference Boys Win
By David Sharp
Highland took a 9-1 lead early in December 20 non-conference play with Knox County. The Eagles (3-6) battled back to within a single point at the 2:40 mark of the second quarter. The contest followed that path most of the way.
The Cougars (3-6) answered a 14-4 Knox County third quarter run by scoring the final 13 points of the period and went on to a 64-52 victory. Adam Morrall tossed in three home run balls during the last 90 seconds of the quarter. Morrall finished with a game high 26 points.
Highland’s quickness and athleticism was a big factor in the outcome. The Cougars moved the basketball well enough to get open shots. The Eagles executed offensively, reeling off a 9-6 run to a 15-10 deficit at the end of the first quarter.
Royce Poore and Justin Reeves helped push the Eagles within a 17-16 second quarter Highland lead. The score stood at 18-17 Cougars at the 2:40 mark of the second period.
The home team cracked off a swift 13 point spurt to a 30-19 lead. Brock Couch sank a pair of Eagle free throws with 49 seconds to play in the half, trimming the halftime score to 30-21 in favor of Highland.
Justin Reeves scored seven of the Eagle’s 12 third quarter points. Reeves slammed the ball through the cylinder at the 4:40 mark of the third quarter. Highland led 32-25 after the throw down.
Brock Couch fueled a 14-4 Knox County run with a three ball at the 2:21 mark of the third quarter. The Eagles did a better job of screening Highland rebounders during the run. Royce Poore converted a steal into a 36-33 Highland lead with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter.
Highland turned on the jets. The Cougars stole the basketball and forced turnovers with defensive pressure. Adam Morrall was on fire from the arc. Morrall scored all but four of Highland’s 19 third quarter points.
The Cougars led 49-33 at the final break. Knox County trailed by as many as 18 points in the fourth quarter. The Eagles battled to the end. Brock Couch took advantage of an ill advised Highland foul on an inbound play, trimming the Cougar lead back to 60-51 with 1:29 showing on the clock.
Justin Reeves sank a KCHS free throw, pulling the Eagles back within a 60-52 deficit with 41 seconds to play in the game. Highland made free throws, extending the final score to 64-52.
Kegan Brown backed up Adam Morrall’s 26 points with ten Cougar points. Derick Smith was next for Highland with nine points. Both teams were above 60% at the free throw line. Highland was 15-22 for 68%. Knox County sank 18 of 28 for 64% on the night.
“Adam Morrall’s streak at the end of the (third) quarter was fun to watch,” Highland coach Clyde Rosencrans said. “He is capable of doing that once he gets himself under control.”
“He shot the ball well. He carried us. We needed something in that third quarter,” Coach Rosencrans said. “We were losing our lead. We rebounded well. (Justin Reeves) started to play in the second half. That brought them back into the game.”
“We didn’t play well in the second half. They (Knox County) played better in the second half. It was up and down. You can tell it is still December.”
Justin Reeves scored 18 points, 16 in the second half. Royce Poore fired in 12 Eagle points. Brock Couch tossed eight KCHS points. Cole Sutton put in five points.
Leighton McCabe scored four points. Brady Morton scored three and Kellen Gillaspy added two Knox County points. The Eagles are off until January 11 when Knox County hosts an improved Marion County boys team and a probable state ranked Lady Mustang club.
Highland enters their tournament the first week of 2011. “These guys are athletic. They got up and down the floor,” Eagle coach Garet Nunan said of the Cougars.
“They pressured the ball well and they shot terrifically. My guys fought. They kept getting back into the game,” Garet Nunan said. “We couldn’t sustain our runs. Highland would come back and hit multiple jump shots in a row.”
“(Adam Morrall) went nuts in the third quarter. That is what put us down. I was proud of our guys for the way they fought back and didn’t give up. We could have lost by 35 (points) after a run like that.”
“We had a chance to win the basketball game,” Garet Nunan said. “We were inconsistent on both ends of the floor. That’s what did us in.”