Fast Start Leads Scots Past Richardson

Amid one of Highland Park’s best offensive halves of the season, defense might have made the difference on Tuesday against Richardson.

As the Scots poured in a barrage of 3-pointers in opening up a large lead, they also neutralized the Eagles’ inside presence, resulting in an 83-74 victory in a key early clash between expected District 7-6A boys basketball playoff contenders.

HP was dominant in the first half, scoring both in transition and in the half-court, both on the perimeter and at the rim — whether it was crisp ball movement leading to open three-point looks or capitalizing on timely fast-break opportunities.

The result was a 51-29 halftime advantage against a Richardson team who was nationally ranked after winning 33 games last season.

“We’re a good fast-break team,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “When we got out in transition, that was really beneficial for us.”

Jackson Heis scored 20 points to lead a balanced attack for the Scots, which included 16 from Dylan Walker, 15 from Coleson Messer, and 11 from Drew McElroy.

After being limited to three points before halftime, elite Richardson forward Tim Jordan finished with a game-high 20 points. Rustan Griffen added 18 and Trenton Patterson contributed 17 for the Eagles.

“It’s a big step to get by Richardson,” Piehler said. “They’re a really good team with a really good player who still got 20 on us when he was the focus of our defense. He’s very versatile.”

An early push for the Scots (10-4, 2-1) included a steal and slam by Heis followed by a corner triple by Messer. Later, the Scots ended the first quarter on a 16-2 run that included an emphatic dunk by Walker along with a pair of 3-pointers by McElroy.

Walker’s transition layup late in the second quarter extended the lead to 20 points. Despite a second-half surge, the Eagles (12-6, 3-1) never put a meaningful dent in the margin.

“The game wasn’t over at halftime, but we gave them an upper-cut and staggered them a little bit,” Piehler said. “It helped that they missed shots, but overall I was very pleased.”

The Scots will take a break from district play to compete in the Allen Holiday Invitational tournament, beginning with a first-round matchup against Prosper on Dec. 27. After the three-day bracketed event, HP resumes the league schedule on Dec. 31 at Richardson Berkner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.