Highlanders outlast Hill

Highlanders outlast Hill

The McLennan Highlanders and Hill Rebels fought a hard battle from the opening tip to the final buzzer. McLennan came away with a 78-74 victory to remain undefeated.

The game was tight from start to finish with neither team holding more than a 12-point lead at any point in the contest. Hill opened the game on a Shaw jumper in the paint to take the early 2-0 lead. McLennan's Hayden Hunter drained a 3-pointer from the corner less than 10 seconds later to put the Highlanders up 3-2. The game was tied at 8 with 16:25 to play in the first half. The Highlanders used a 6-0 run over the next two minutes to create a little space from the Rebels. Hill tied the game at 24 with 7:28 on the clock. Isaiah Gurley hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark the Highlanders and return the McLennan lead back to six, 30-24. A Julius Palmer dunk gave the Highlanders their largest lead of the first half, 35-27, with 4:17 to play. McLennan held the 40-33 advantage at the break. 

The Highlanders came out fired up to start the second half. Fred Jackson drained two free throws less than 10 seconds into the half and sent the ball flying with a forceful block on Hill's first possession. Gurley chased down the deflected the ball and popped a 3-pointer from the elbow to give McLennan their largest lead of the game, 45-33, with 19:16 remaining in the game. Hill didn't go down without a fight. The Rebels cut the Highlander lead to three, 62-59 with 9:11 to go. Gurley once again proved to be the igniter for the McLennan offense with back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Highlanders back up by nine. But Hill wasn't done. Once again, the Rebels rallied – this time cutting the lead to just two points, 74-72, with 17.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Hunter went a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line and the Highlander defense held Hill to two free throws in the final 10 seconds to secure the victory.

Gurley led the way for the Highlanders with 25 points. Shannon Bogues and Hunter added 18 and 14 respectively. Jackson was a beast on the defensive end of the floor, recording five blocks and five defensive rebounds.

The Highlanders will return to action Saturday, Jan. 28.

McLennan 78, Hill 74
McLennan: Zarious Wilson 1 0-0 3; Chamar Hawkins 0 0-0 0; Hayden Hunter 4 5-6 14; Derrick Farquharson 1 0-0 3; Shannon Bogues 5 6-7 18; Isaiah Gurley 7 5-7 25; Jashawn Talton 3 0-0 6; Daniel Pinho Severo 1 1-2 3; Fred Jackson 1 2-2 4; Julius Palmer 1 0-0 2; Totals: 24 19-24 78.

Hill: Shaw 3 0-0 6; Turner 5 6-8 18; Malveau 3 3-3 9; Pinkard 1 1-2 3; Anderson 2 0-0 12; Bailey 5 0-0 12; Taylor 4 0-0 8; Allen 2 0-0 4; Lukusa 2 4-5 8; Kalamba 1 0-0 2; Totals 28 16-21 74.

3-pointers: McLennan 11 (Gurley 6, Bogues 2, Wilson 1, Hunter 1, Farquharson 1), Hill 2 (Bailey 2); Total fouls: McLennan 23, Hill 18; Fouled out: McLennan (Jackson); Halftime score: McLennan 40, Hill 33; Record: McLennan 21-0 (3-0).