Dunks, blocks and big shots by local boys and girls basketball teams
Highland basketball coach Brian Perkes didn’t know what to think at the end but he was glad his team woke up in time.
Bulldogs senior forward Sam LaPorta was just glad he and his teammates figured things out before it was too late.
A flat first half and shaky third quarter forced the Bulldogs to dig deep. Thanks to a big night from LaPorta and a strong performance from Brady Feldmann, Highland overcame a seven-point fourth quarter deficit and held on for a 45-44 nonconference win over Breese Central at home Saturday.
“I don’t know how we won, honestly. ...” Perkes said. “I thought we got a little lucky winning this game tonight because we just lacked energy.”
Central (12-9) had the energy early in the game as the Cougars physical half-court defense slowed Bulldogs down. A 3-point basket from Parker Jansen pushed Central to a 14-8 lead in the second quarter and the Cougars still led led 16-13 at the halftime break.
Perkes was far from thrilled with his club’s first-half performance.
“I knew this would be a tough game because Central’s a good basketball team,” Perkes said.
Feldmann caught fire in the third quarter, scoring eight points between the 3:36 mark and the 2-minute mark of the third quarter to cut the Cougars lead to 27-26. He finished the night with 15 points after a quiet first half.
“Brady hit some big shots and really we had going offensively was Brady and Sam on the offensive end,” Perkes said.
LaPorta added, “Brady’s a stud and when we need a boost he’s always there.”
Down seven to start the fourth quarter, LaPorta, who scored just five points in the first half, got rolling as he broke loose for six points to kick off a 12-3 run that put the Bulldogs ahead to stay at 38-33 with 3:35 to go.
“I think we tried to get in transition a little bit more the second half,” said LaPorta, who finished with a game-high 18 points. “We thought if we’re sticking in the game too long that they would come back and get us, in the end, we wanted to get things done as quickly as possible.”
The Cougars knocked down a three-pointer with about a second left comeback bit fell short as the buzzer sounded.
Perkes was relieved that there would be no overtime for Highland (19-4) in this one. “We have won a lot of close ballgames, credit our kids for that and they found a way tonight.”
Jansen and Jackson Haag led Central with nine points each.