From The Tartan: Highlander Basketball's Tourney Journey
FROM THE TARTAN: HIGHLANDER BASKETBALL'S TOURNEY JOURNEY
By Ethan Cundiff, OHHS Tartan Contributor / Photo by ESP Media
Highlander basketball has one mission in mind: state dominance. Early on in the tournament, the boys basketball team was ready to prove that they wanted to win. After two shaky starts, the team came out victorious.
Opening the tournament, the Highlanders faced Talawanda. Given the record the Indians had, it was nothing to Mike Price and his team. The Highlanders saw that they were in need of a wake up call, after going back and forth early on in the game. Then, after some changes at the half; including some defensive changes, the team showed everyone in that Fairfield gym that they were the real deal by pulling away early in the second half and cruised to a 69-39 victory lead by senior Luke Rudy with 17 points.
In the second round the team showed that they were able to handle the high seeded Edgewood Cougars. The team jumped out early and really never looked back. The game was filled with what the Highlanders do best: force turnovers and push the tempo and get easy scores. Ryan Batte led the team to a 53-29 victory scoring 22 points alone.
Going into the Sectional Finals after two huge wins, the Highlanders were hoping for some more balance from the team. On Saturday, March 4, the team faced Wilmington High School at Fairfield. The game was filled with a lot of excitement for both teams with only one goal: win and make it up to the UD Arena. The boys did what they were asked and beat Wilmington with a score of 55-36. In this game, multiple guys were able to step up and contribute to the game. They spread out the attack and were able to push away for a big win. The "Difficult Three" led the Highlanders with a combined score of 51(Naber-17; Rudy-17; Batte-17).
I call these three senior the "Difficult Three" because that's what makes this team so hard to beat. not just one player. The driving ability of Naber makes it difficult to guard him and size of Batte makes defenses terrified because they have to double team, which leaves Rudy the sharp shooter ready to make teams crumble. The team as a whole looks to use this momentum and the support to help them going into Districts starting up at UD Arena on Saturday, March 11.