The Highland boys’ basketball team rode the hot hand of Jake Connor and his four three-pointers in the first half, then hung on for dear life in the second to defeat Judge Memorial on Friday, 63-52.
"Our thing is, if we get really good shots, we feel like we’re going to make them and we got great shots in the first half," Highland coach Keith West said. "The second half, [Judge] did a much better job defensively and we didn’t get those looks."
O Highland hits 9 of 10 3-point attempts in the first half.
» Judge Memorial holds Highland to single digits in the second half until 3:40 is left in the fourth.
» Highland makes more three-pointers (10) than two-pointers (8).
The basket appeared as big as the ocean for the Rams in the first half as they stormed out to a 20-point lead at Judge. Connor scored all but two of his team-leading 17 points in the decisive first two periods.
"Jake is a flat out pure shooter, and if you give him open looks, he’s a great shooter," said West.
West had been frustrated lately with his team’s shot selection, so going into Friday, their plan was simple.
"We had a game plan that we were going to come in, take good shots, and my teammates got me open," said Connor.
The Rams’ game plan worked flawlessly in the first half, but not so much in the second.
"They came on a run, pressured us, took us out of our stuff, but when that happens you’ve just got to trust your teammates, trust your offense, be patient with the ball, take good shots and it’ll come to you," said Connor.
Ryan Pauley led the Bulldogs with 22 points, but it was Kaden Elliss who made the biggest second-half impact for Judge, scoring 11 points after being saddled with early foul trouble.
"It helped us when [Elliss] was out, they put a few younger guys in, they got a little confused, and we just ran our stuff at them — it ended up well," said Connor.
Despite the Bulldogs’ impressive run, the night belonged to Connor and his Ram teammates.
"In my years coaching, I’ve only had one other kid that can shoot like [Connor]," said West.
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