By Brian O’Shea, Plateau Daily News
Highlands girls varsity basketball team heads to the second round of the NC High School Athletic Association State Playoffs after defeating Hiwassee Dam 43-36 at home on Tuesday.
Highlands Riley Conner drives into the paint during the first round of the NCHSAA State Playoffs in Highlands.
The game was neck and neck for the first three quarters, but Highlands pulled away in the fourth and scored a solid victory.
Highlands Aislynn Luck on a fast break against Hiwassee.
“We did what needed to be done,” said Highlands Coach Brett Lamb. “We missed some easy shots and had some turnovers that hurt us, but we also made some big shots and some huge plays when it counted to get the win.”
Highlands Coach Brett Lamb asks a referee for clarification on a call during the first round of the state playoffs.
Tuesday’s win against Hiwassee comes shortly after winning the Little Smoky Mountain Tournament championship on Feb. 16, also against Hiwassee and hosted by Nantahala. The Lady Highlanders defeated Nantahala in round 1 of the tournament to move on to the championship.
Highlands varsity girls basketball team holding the Little Smoky Mountain Tournament Championship trophy on Feb. 16 after defeating Hiwassee Dam in the final round.
Hiwassee knocked out Blue Ridge Early College of the LSMC tournament in round 1 and lost to Highlands by 2 points, 49-47 in the LSMC championship.
A moment of celebration for the Lady Highlanders after being presented with the LSMC Championship Trophy.
After some close wins against Hiwassee lately, Lamb said he knew Tuesday’s game was going to be a battle.
“We did really well going up against Hiwassee several times in the past couple of days,” he said. “They’re a really tough team with some serious threats, but we rose to the occasion.”
Highlands Lilly Bryson scores 2 points at home against Hiwassee.
Lamb added that the winning streak the Lady Highlanders have been on is the result of working together as a unit.
“The beauty with us is that it’s never just one person winning the game, it’s a team effort with everyone doing their job and contributing to achieve success.”
Highlands Mac Woods sets up to drain a free throw.
The second round of the state playoffs begins tonight at 6 p.m. at North Rowan High School four hours away in Spencer, NC.
Highlands High School Cheerleaders who made the trip to Nantahala to support the Lady Highlanders at the LSMC Championship.
Highlands Bella Wilson scans Hiwassee’s defense and calls a play.
Highlands Hunter Conner keeps the ball moving around the perimeter in Nantahala.
Highlands Ezra Branham on a fast break at home during Round 1 of state playoffs.
Highlands Lilly Bryson drives to the hoop and scores a layup in Nantahala.
Highlands Hunter Conner blocks a Hiwassee shot.
Highlands Coach Brett Lamb calls a timeout during the final minute of the LSMC Championship game. Highlands won 49-47.
Highlands High School Cheerleaders keeping spirits high during a close game in Nantahala against Hiwassee.
Highlands B Bryson makes her move to the hoop against Hiwassee.
Highlands Mac Woods scores a layup on a fast break of the first round of the state playoffs.
Highlands Ezra Branham drives into the paint during the state playoffs.
Highlands Bella Wilson scores 2 against Hiwassee at home.
Highlands bench cheering on the girls on the floor in the final moments of the first round of the state playoffs.
Highlands Coach Brett Lamb enthusiastically calls a play in the final seconds of the LSMC championship game in Nantahala. Highlands won by 2.