Highlands Middle School boys basketball team hosted Nantahala on Monday in the first round of the Tri-State Middle School Conference tournament and won with a final 38-19.
The Highlanders maintained a comfortable lead throughout the game Highlands Coach Seth Wilson said his bench was called into action and they delivered.
“They did good,” said Wilson. “They came out and ran plays, moved the ball, and rebounded; and we got the win.”
Highlands Jesus Mendoza hit the court late in the game and although the win against Nantahala was all but sealed, he said he really wanted to contribute to the team and put some points on the board.
After a full-scale team effort, multiple attempts, and seconds left in the game; Mendoza drains a free throw and the crowd went nuts.
Mendoza’s teammates carried him off the court and out of the locker room on their shoulders.
“I felt like I was famous after I scored, like I was the king of all,” he said. “Everybody played hard and it was a good game. I’m proud to be on this team.”
Editor’s Note: I’ve seen some Rudy moments in my time, this was pretty awesome.
Highlands travels to Tallulah Falls School on Wednesday to face TFS in the second round of the tournament.
Wilson said the first time they played TFS they lost in a blowout, and last week they only lost by 4 points, so he expects Wednesday’s game to be a good one.
Mendoza said the Highlanders are ready for the game 2.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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