Highland men’s basketball team rolls into the holiday break with a pair of tough losses at the JCCC Classic falling to Iowa Western and No. 1 North Iowa Area.
Scotties fell 63-61 to Iowa Western on Friday and dropped a contest to #1 NIACC 85-75 on Saturday to move to 11-5 on the season and have first three-game losing streak since 2016-17 season.
Friday saw the Scotties fall behind 7-0 to open the game but the Scotties put together a run led by Alex Dolce and tied the contest at 13-13 with 11:30 remaining in the first half. Highland swung the lead to their favor at 18-16 on a Zyon Smith three-pointer but Iowa Western answered with another run and established a double figure lead. Scotties trailed 38-29 entering halftime.
Highland pushed back in the second half and jumped in front at 53-52 with 7:05 remaining in the contest as Rashon Johnson found Trey Twa for a layup but the Scotties were unable to hold onto the lead. Down 62-61 with under 20 seconds left Highland misfired on a pair of layups and Iowa Western hit a free throw to make it a two-point game and stopped the Scotties final attempt sending Highland to the 63-61 loss.
Scotties shot 41.3% in the contest while holding Iowa Western to 38.2% shooting, while Highland had 12 turnovers in the loss. A trio of double figure scorers paced Highland as Smith posted a career best 12 points adding four rebounds, while Dolce posted 10 points with five rebounds and Trey Twa had 10 points and five rebounds.
On Saturday Highland was looking to get back in the win column but Scotties fell behind early and were unable to comeback against #1 NIACC. After falling behind 13-6 the Scotties mounted a 6-0 run to draw within one and then managed to tie the game at 16-16 but NIACC answered with a 6-0 run and controlled the game growing the lead to has high as 17 in the first half and the Scotties trailed 39-25 at halftime.
Despite the efforts of the Scotties in the second half NIACC kept the lead as Highland drew within as close as nine but ultimately fell 85-75.
In the loss the Scotties shot 47.6% but NIACC shot 50% from the field, while the Scotties had 17 turnovers with 12 coming in the first half. Marquise Milton led Highland with 23 points and six rebounds, while Rashon Johnson tallied 19 points and nine rebounds. Dylan Vincent had a solid performance finishing with nine points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Highland wraps up the 2019 portion of their season with an 11-5 mark and now head into the holiday break. Scotties will recommence the season on Jan. 10 at home in the Scottie Classic when they play Southeast that evening at 7 o’clock.