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Coming out of the locker room in the second half Highland turned the ball over twice and Wapello took a 36-33 lead. This is where the Huskies had wilted in the first half of the season, but not against Wapello.
Highland (5-3) continued to battle back and eventually beat previously undefeated Wapello (7-1) 79-75 after two overtime periods in a game that featured 22 lead changes. The game was so tight throughout that neither team had a lead larger than four until Highland went up 73-68 with 2:30 left in the second overtime.
The game was clinched after Trey Lasek was fouled with 5.3 seconds remaining and hit both free throws to grow the Highland lead to two possessions at 79-75.
“Honestly, that was probably one of the more impressive things (we did),” Highland coach Marcus Hall said. “That could have been a ‘here-we-go again’ situation, but they had mental toughness.”
Highland sophomore Zack Lasek had his best game yet with 36 points, including 15 of Highland’s 17 points in the two overtime periods.
“When it was open, I would look for the three, but that didn’t happen much because I was getting to the basket pretty well. It was nice to find my rhythm,” Lasek said.
Highland’s overtime possessions looked like much of the same, with some early ball movement leading to Zack Lasek getting the ball near the top of the key. The method to the basket then varied, but it all ended up in nearly the same way, with another two points.
Lasek said he was surprised he was able to get to the basket so effectively all night, especially since in one of last year’s games against Wapello he faced a nearly constant double-team.
“I thought it would be a more intense double-team. They had one kid kind of coming at me, but I would hop past him,” Lasek said.
Hall said this is the type of game he hopes to consistently see from Lasek on both ends of the court. He said he was happy with his game both offensively and defensively.
“He closed for us and we’ve been looking for that. He’s been a good player to this point but we need him to control these games and dominate these games (like tonight),” Hall said.
Highland also saw strong play from Mason McFarland, who had 16 points in total, 11 of those coming in the first half of the game. McFarland hit back-to-back 3-point shots near the end of the first half to give Highland the lead back.
The Huskies now hope they can use this game as a turning point to show the type of basketball they need to play the rest of the season. They’re hoping some rough losses prior to the Christmas break will help them through tight situations like the one against Wapello.
“I’ve been waiting to see this, I don’t think anyone played to their potential up to this point and tonight we did that. We’ve been through some bad losses and I think that helped us,” Hall said.
According to Zack Lasek the game was something needed for their confidence after they let a late lead slip to Lone Tree in an overtime loss and let a halftime tie against Iowa Mennonite quickly get out of hand.
“It shows us that we finally played a whole game. (Against) Lone Tree we didn’t have one good quarter, against Iowa Mennonite we played a terrible second half,” Lasek said. “Coming into halftime we just said we have to keep going, we’re not just a team that kind of gives you a scare then falls away.”
Now with the solid win under their belts, the question is whether they can sustain that throughout the rest of SEISC-play and beyond into districts.
“Now it’s the consistency thing and even though we won tonight it’s a marathon and that’s how we have to approach it,” Hall said.
Wapello: 11; 20; 16; 15; 6; 7; 75
Highland: 14; 19; 14; 15; 6; 11; 79
Zack Lasek 36
Mason McFarland 16
Trey Lasek 12