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A deflected rebound off of Wapello gave Highland a second opportunity on offense, down one point with 90 seconds to go. Kylie Wood made the most of it.
Wood fired from three immediately after the inbound to put Highland ahead 41-39, a lead that eventually turned into a 47-41 win for Highland. The shot was Wood’s only field goal of night, the Huskies followed it up by six straight free throws from Aly Stokes to finish out the game.
“I think this game was just kind of a good turning point for us, because it was one of the first games we’ve come back from a lull. That’s big for us,” Wood said.
The Huskies went into halftime at a 21-19 deficit, and after the break started to pound the ball inside.
Highland had found the formula to break down the Wapello zone. Stokes, who finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks, would dribble up the ball and pass it off to another guard. A quick cut into the lane and she would slip in between the zone and lay it up and in off the glass.
“We had talked about it during a timeout that if Aly cuts hard they weren’t covering it. So we just did that,” Wood said.
If Stokes wasn’t open, the Huskies would go to Abbie Miller in the high post. Miller had 15 points and 12 rebounds including four offensive rebounds. Miller and Stokes combined for 42 of 47 points for Highland.
That helped give Highland a five-point lead heading into the final break.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Wapello put their full court press into action and took a lead with 1:50 to go. A driving bucket by Erkya Dickey followed by a steal and two free throws from Emma Reid gave Wapello the 39-38 lead.
In the past, Wood said that’s the point where bad turns to worse and the other teams pulls away. But now, the team has matured together and doesn’t let quick runs like that faze them.
“I think we’re just supporting each other more and have more experience,” Wood said.
The win moves Highland to a 4-2 record and 3-1 in SEISC North play. They faced off against Winfield-Mt. Union (1-3, 2-4) on Tuesday and Louisa-Muscatine (3-0, 3-1) on Thursday. The Huskies travel to Columbus (0-5, 0-5) on Friday before hosting English Valleys in non-conference action next Monday.
Highland: 11; 8; 12; 16; 47
Wapello: 15; 6; 5; 15; 41
Highland gets one-point win
Both Highland and Pekin went on big runs in the second half, but the Huskies came out on top with a 48-47 win on the road at previously undefeated Pekin.
The Huskies outscored Pekin 21-14 in the final quarter of the game after being outscored 17-4 in the third quarter. Aly Stokes and Abbie Miller combined for 38 points, the other 10 came from Kylie Wood, Alyssa Brase and Sarah Schneider.
“It was a back-and-forth game all over tonight. Both teams turned the ball over and played hard throughout the night,” Highland coach Jody Fink said.
In the end, Fink said the game came down to free throws. Highland went 14-21 from the line while Pekin was just 7-22.
The Huskies outrebounded Pekin 37-27 on the night as Miller and Brase each had 11 rebounds.
Highland: 10; 13; 4; 21; 48
Pekin: 12; 4; 17; 14; 47