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Highland beats Harding

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Highland beats Harding

William Tzavaras, Sports Editor

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Highland visited Harding’s gym Feb. 3 and came out victorious with a final score of 77-62.

The game plan was simple for Highland. Run. Boy, was it executed: they ran all night long. It looked like the first game of the movie Coach Carter; they ran all night long without hardly running any sets all night, and when they did, the Knights had no answer.

Just like the previous matchup, senior guard Mike Cornelius led the team in scoring, putting the team on his back. He’s a talented guard and no one could simply keep up with him. All he did was attack and attack and attack. I think I can count one three-point shot that Cornelius took, which he made, but all he did was get his long frame to the rim where hardly anyone could keep up with him. Chris English was able to meet Cornelius at the rim for a handful of blocks, but Cornelius isn’t a scared guard, which is what makes him good. He continues to attack and doesn’t worry about looking over his shoulder for the help defense because he knows his teammates have his back, and they did tonight.

Unlike the previous matchup, junior guard Amitri Collins (Westlund) also kept pace with his own teammate, scoring 20 points as well. Amitri was attending the All-American Army combine bowl in the first game, and he showed he’s an impact player. The first game saw Highland squeak out a nine-point win on their home court without the contribution of Westlund, but with him now in the lineup, they won by a total of 15 points, which may not seem like a big difference, but it is in the end.

Harding has to find two consistent scorers, something that almost all teams need to be successful. That way if one guy is having an off night, the other can pick them up. Highland has this but Harding lacks it

Freshman guard Jovan Christian led the team in scoring again, racking up 17 points, which serves as a small highlight in the loss, because he is the future. He’s only a freshman, and he has a long way to go. The transition from eighth grade basketball to the high school varsity level can be tough, and Jovan has taken his lumps as well as his wins. Just give it some time.

Senior guard Essa Adam needs a fire lit under him ASAP. Essa is averaging about 18 points a game, which seems like a big contribution, but it’s fallen off immensely since the beginning of the season when he was averaging around 30. As a senior guard, you need to be able to lace up the big boy shoes and say, “I got this,” and grab the bull by the horns. Essa scored only 12 points tonight, which is not okay.

The contribution of 12 points is minimal at best from Essa, who is notorious for being able to put the ball in the basket, so why not do it more? Can’t put the blame on him, though; the other Harding seniors didn’t even chip in a total of 20 points combined tonight, which is bad.

The Knights will keep fighting with spirits held high (I hope) as the season comes down to a close. If they want to make a deep section run, they need to pick up the heat, and it needs to be fast. The fight for February 24 comes quick. Once that day comes, it turns into one and done situations. The Knights have the ability to beat anybody in their section, and that’s not an overstatement, but to do so they need to find some grit on defense and two consistent scorers.
Mike Cornelious, Highland

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Highland beats Harding