Highlanders take first conference win on Friday
EUREKA SPRINGS -- It wasn't the defensive performance that head coach Nolan Helder wanted to see, but his Highlanders persevered and defeated County Line 73-62 in overtime on Friday.
"They (County Line) do a good job and we knew that it would be tough," Helder said.
With the Highlanders down 29-15 in the second quarter, Helder began to ponder how the game would conclude.
"Our defense got better as the game progressed," he said. "I was very proud of our team. It says a lot about our character."
Once again, senior Nick Bower led the charge with 23 points; Roy McGehee finished with 14, Briar Sebby had 13 and Peyton Troillett had nine.
Playing a team that didn't utilize the zone defense was challenging for the Highlanders, but a challenge that Helder's squad welcomed.
"It was good for us to play against a half court man defense," he said.
The defense struggled early and often throughout the first half, but the team was able to come out in the second half and play Highlanders basketball.
"Defensively, we didn't do a great job off the dribble, but we certainly got better as the game went on," Helder said.
The defense only allowed four points in the overtime period, catapulting the Highlanders to their fifth-consecutive win, and their first conference victory of the season.
The Highlanders missed some routine shots in the first half, shots that they would normally make.
"We just missed some easy points early in the game," Helder said.
The Highlanders were responsible for sending the Indians to the charity stripe 15 times in the first half, and they took full advantage of the opportunity as they converted on all 15.
He said that moving forward, the team has to come out and play better defense earlier in the game, that way they aren't forced into a corner.
He added that no halftime adjustments were needed, only that they had to come out collectively and play better on both ends of the court.
With one conference victory secured, the Highlanders will look to become more consistent on both ends of the court. The team will look to stay in the win column on Tuesday night.