The Highland Bulldogs were looking for a balanced performance when they stepped onto the floor at Triad High School for their own Madison County Braggin’ Rights game against the Knights.
Thirty-two minutes later, the Bulldogs had put four players in double figures to run away with a 55-21 Mississippi Valley Conference win.
Brady Feldmann, Sam LaPorta and Steven Torre scored 12 points each, while Jake Kruse added 10 points in the Bulldogs most balanced effort to date.
“I thought from the very beginning we were pretty,” Highland coach Brian Perkes said. “We were up 15-5 at the (first) quarter and we were up 31-13 at halftime and we told them we wanted to come out and reestablished ourselves in the second half and we did that.”
The night was also a bit of a breakthrough for Feldmann, who after struggling the first weeks of the season, finally was able to notch a double-figure game from all points on the floor.
“It felt good and I wanted to show out for Highland-Triad rivalry because of its a big deal for our school, so I just wanted to show out,” Feldmann said.”There were a lot of open lanes I could take to the basket and find Sam for a few, relocate, find my shot, go to the post when they double team. We’ve got a good offense.”
The Bulldogs took a 10-point lead into the second quarter. Late in the first quarter Feldmann drilled a 3-pointer from the left elbow to key an 8-3 run that put the Bulldogs up 31-13 at the half.
“it was awesome to get the crowd behind us and kind of shut their crowd down a little bit and we just kept going from there,” Feldmann said.
Highland (11-1, 4-0 in the MVC) kept the offense rolling in the third quarter as Feldman drilled his second three of the night and Etter knocked down a pair of free throws to kick start a 9-1 run that forced a Triad timeout. The Bulldogs’ lead swelled to 40-13 with 6:25 left in the third quarter.
“When things are clicking, we’re pretty good,” Perkes said.
In the fourth quarter, Highland cleared the bench as the starters got to relax and enjoy some pre-holiday joking around as the lead grew to as much as 35 points.
“It’s kind of nice to just relax and let other kids play and have fun,” Feldmann said.
Junior Nate Winslow led Triad (5-5, 2-1) with 8 points. The Knights next face Lovejoy at the Freeburg Holiday Tournament next Wednesday.
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Despite the loss of several key team members, the Highland Bulldogs boys track team is looking for another successful season. Highland lost nine team members to graduation from a team that finished sixth in IHSA sectional competition .