By Mark Jurgena
The Highland boys basketball team split contests last week by beating Alton (Marquette) and dropping their initial MVC game of the season to Mascoutah. Both games were played in Highland.
Mascoutah 56 Highland 47
UMSL recruit Justin King shot 73% from the field and made all four of his free throws to amass 27 points and help MHS beat Highland in the MVC opener for both schools on December 3rd.
Highland 47 Alton (Marquette) 44
Closing out a tight game is always on Highland coach Deryl Cunningham’s mind and after they escaped their November 30th game with Marquette he referenced it again.
“It’s always good to get a win over a loss, we just need to close games better,” said Cunningham. “I just felt we should’ve beaten them by eight to ten points. We missed eight free throws in the fourth quarter.”
However, Cunningham was far from disappointed.
“I think Marquette’s got a good team,” said Cunningham. “I think they score the ball well and I thought we defended well. I thought for a good portion of the game I felt like we ran our offense pretty well. We’ve got to clean up some things. But I told them we have definitely improved.”
One area of concern continues to be guard play for the Dogs. They are still without two-year junior starter Cade Altadonna for a few more weeks. But Cunningham believes his guards are coming along well.
“I thought our guards played well,” said Cunningham. “Brenden Gelly seems like he’s been knocking down some threes and Ottensmeier, Jake’s been very good for us. Trey (Koishor) is just very steady. Logan Powers off the bench has been very good too.”
For the game, Ottensmeier had 22 points while Koishor had eight. Powers and Gelly had five points each.
Cunningham believed this result would help propel his team this season.
“This just shows the guys we can do it,” he said. “I told the guys when we were 1-3. I said, ‘guys I still like our team. I think we have a chance to have a good team.’ But seeing is believing.”
Highland returns to action tomorrow at Jerseyville.