Highlands MS boys basketball team ousts Nantahala in Tri-State tournament

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.

Highlands Luke Ramos slices through Natahala’s D on Monday at home in the first round of the Tri-State Middle School Conference tournament.

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 makes his move along the baseline against Nantahala during the final seconds of the conference tournament.

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.

Highlands Jesus Mendoza was carried out of the locker room by his teammates after sinking his first basket during the final seconds of the Highlanders’ win over Nantahala.

“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.

Highlands Harrison Gates not giving any ground to Nantahala in the first round of the conference tournament on Monday.

Highlands Landon Green surveys the scene while making his way down court.

Highlands Cooper Hall jumps to block Nantahala’s shot.

Highlands Jim De La Cruz De Dios brings the ball down court against Nantahala at home.

Highlands JD Head puts 2 on the board at home.

Highlands Wyatt Wilson making sure the shop’s closed at the top of the key.

Highlands Isaiah Vilardo on a fast break against Nantahala at home on Monday.

Highlands Gavin Small chases down a loose ball against Nantahala.

Highlands Middle School cheerleaders rocking stunts during the first round of the Tri-State Middle School Conference tournament.

Referee jumps in to lend a helping hand.

Article and photos by Brian O’Shea
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