January 10, 2008

Highland Escapes With Win, But Not Unscathed

When a basketball game turns physical, fans often clamor “No blood, no foul,” meaning the officials are letting the game get a little too rough.

That wasn’t the case on New Year’s Eve at the Highland Tournament when Scotland County took on the host team. The officials took plenty of measures to reign in the rough stuff, but it didn’t seem to change the style of play as there were plenty of fouls and the blood that went along with it.

Before the game was over, Scotland County shot 31 free throws and Highland had to have three players leave the game because they were bleeding. Two of those injured did not return, as they required stitches.

The charity stripe kept Scotland County in the contest early. The Tigers made nine of 10 free throws in the first period and led 13-12. Highland’s standout guard John Mims was shutout in the opening eight minutes by tenacious defense by Brandon Garnett who was matched up in a box-and-one scheme.

Tad Luebbehusen scored eight points in the opening period for Highland to pick up the slack. The forward continued to knock down shots in period two, adding another eight points to put the Cougars ahead 24-17 at the break as they outscored SCR-I 8-1 to close out the first half.

Josh Mims was a perfect eight of eight from the free throw line in the third period. He had to pick up the slack after Luebbenhusen left the game after a cut opened on his head following a collision on a loose ball. Highland’s Cole Hetzer left the game moments later after he committed a hard foul against Musgrove but came away worse for wear with a cut on his head.

Cody Musgrove kept the Tigers close, scoring eight points in the third period. Kyle Shelley added a couple of baskets in the paint.

Musgrove scored on a sweet reverse lay to make the score 31-27 but John Mimms drilled a deep three pointer as Highland closed the third period strong to build a 36-29 advantage.

The Cougars were able to maintain that six or seven point cushion throughout the fourth period before ultimately spreading the court in the final minutes of the contest to run out the clock on a 55-42 victory.

Musgrove led all scorers with 19 points, including 15 of 17 shooting from the free throw line. Shelley scored 12 points and was six-of-six from the line.

The Tigers fell to 4-4 on the year and dropped into the tourney’s consolation bracket while Highland advanced to the semi-finals.

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