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Highland suffered their first loss of the season on Friday, and it served as a wake-up call to some of the Huskies in a 58-46 loss to Wapello.
“I think the biggest problem was that we took them for granted. (Wapello) losing a lot of seniors kind of boosted our confidence,” Cole Adamson said.
The night didn’t start as planned as Highland turned the ball over on three straight possessions to start the game before Trey Lasek drove straight to the hoop for the first points of the night and cut the score to 7-2. Wapello increased the lead to 12-2 before the Highland defense got into sync and started to heavily pressure the ball.
“The points we did get were off turnovers because we were talking and helping,” Adamson said. “We were helping off the screen and working as a whole.”
At the end of the first quarter Highland trailed 17-11, with Trey Lasek scoring eight for the Huskies. He ended the night with 20 in total to lead Highland.
Wapello was led by Truman State signee Keaton Mitchell, who scored 25 points on 10-16 shooting and had 13 total rebounds including seven on the offensive glass.
Part of that spark came from bench players Bill Laughlin and Zane Arnold according to Adamson. Those two brought some new defensive intensity to the floor and got the Huskies out of a rut.
Laughlin put the Huskies ahead at 18-17 after a 7-0 run in the first 1:25 to start the second quarter forced a Wapello timeout. Out of the timeout Wapello went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes, largely by pounding the ball into the post. Caden Thomas and Mitchell combined for 37 total points.
Zack Lasek hit a shot in the paint and Trey Lasek hit a three to cut the deficit to two at halftime.
The start of the second half was a lot like the first as turnovers plagued the Huskies. Wapello had 15 steals in total on the night and it lead to a 13-7 quarter in favor of Highland.
The Huskies showed some spark in the fourth, but Wapello kept finding the extra pass for easy baskets that kept Highland from cutting into the lead.
While the loss hurts, Adamson said they’re looking to learn from it.
“We aren’t happy that it happened, but you have to look at it like that so we can learn from it,” Adamson said.
He said helping off screens and help-defense were the biggest culprits on the defensive end and that is solved with clearer communication. Highland is now 3-1 on the season and 2-1 in divisional play.
They hosted Winfield-Mt. Union (0-4) on Tuesday and Louisa-Muscatine (0-4) on Thursday. They then travel to Columbus (1-3) on Friday night.
Highland: 11; 12; 7;13; 46
Wapello: 17; 8; 13; 17; 58
Seven threes propel Highland
Highland was over 50 percent from the floor as a team in a 61-50 win against Pekin, showing a balance in the offense. The Huskies had assists on 16 of 22 shots on the night with both Brody Burton and Trey Lasek having four.
Lasek scored 24 points to lead Highland and Zack Lasek added 16 points.
The Huskies outrebounded Pekin 31-22, led by 12 rebounds by Zack Lasek. The Huskies were 7-13 from deep and had five players knock down long-range shots.
After a 20-20 tie after the first quarter, Highland took a five point lead into halftime at 35-30. They kept the five-point lead heading into the final quarter and extended the lead to double-digits before all was said and done.
Highland: 20; 15; 12; 14; 61
Pekin: 20; 10; 12; 8; 50