Highlands boys varsity basketball team slams home win against Nantahala

Highlands boys varsity basketball team defeated Nantahala in a conference game at home on Friday with a final score of 59-39. The Highlanders established a comfortable lead in the first quarter and from then on it was conservative-fundamental basketball.

Highlands had players step up on all fronts, including strong defense from Destin Gearhart and Dillon Schmitt, control of the boards by Mattson Gates and Hunter Collins, and chasing down and wrestling loose balls and tipped shots by Jonathan Miller and Logan Houston. Quieter than usual in the past couple of weeks, Highlands Drew Chalker came out aggressive at both ends of the court putting up points, snagging rebounds, and creating opportunities for others to pad the scoreboard.

By the fourth quarter, Highlands still maintained a 20-point lead and excitement was building in the stands, on Highlands’ bench, and on the court for a dunk from Collins. A couple chances were thwarted by Nantahala, including an alley-oop attempt by Gates that did not connect (but it came close) and another opportunity where Collins was fowled from behind. At last Collins delivered.

Pictured below Highlands Hunter Collins steals a Nantahala pass out of the air, drives down the court, and hammers home a two-handed dunk for 2 points.

Highlands Hunter Collins dunks in a conference game against Nantahala at home on Friday. Highlands won 59-39.

Highlands Drew Chalker and Hunter Collins close the gap to the hoop against Nantahala on Friday.

Highlands Mattson Gates was a familiar sight in the paint on both ends of the court against Nantahala.

Highlands Destin Gearhart stays with a Nantahala player after the offensive play is called.

Editor’s Note: The reason for this photo is not so obvious, but what it shows is the same Nantahala player in the previous photo facing Highlands Destin Gearhart and Drew Chalker who are blocking him from the basket. The Nantahala player hooked a low bounce pass behind Gearhart’s back to his teammate under the hoop for a bucket. It was a good play.

Highlands Jake Billingsley closes down access to the basket against Nantahala on Friday.

Highlands Pablo Jimenez stays with a Nantahala player driving to the hoop.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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