Playing on their home court for the final time, seniors Cole Adamson and Zack Lasek each scored 23 points to lead Highland to a 72-68 Class 1A-District 7 semifinal win Feb. 25 over North Cedar in boys basketball playoff action.
The first quarter was a bit of a feeling out game as these two teams did not meet in the regular season. The first made basket from the field came more than two and a half minutes into the contest and that was an Adamson 3-pointer. The Adamson-Lasek duo combined to score Highland’s first 11 points in a back-and-forth quarter that saw the Huskies take a 13-12 lead into the second quarter.
North Cedar took the lead early in the second before Highland countered with a 9-0 spurt to give them a 22-14 lead. Bill Laughlin started and ended the run with baskets which included a 3-pointer to start the run.
The Knights countered with their own run, 8-0, to tie the contest at 22. Ethan Sahr hit back-to-back deep 3-pointers to give North Cedar momentum.
The quarter belonged to Highland’s Laughlin as he stopped North Cedar’s run with back-to-back baskets. He scored nine of his 10 points in the second quarter. After another Sahr 3-pointer cut Highland’s lead to one, an Adamson deep 3-pointer and a Lasek putback in the final minute gave the Huskies a 31-25 lead going into the halftime locker room.
Highland came out firing in the second half as they were clicking on both ends of the floor. Mason McFarland and Adamson hit 3-pointers out of the gate to give the Huskies their first double-digit lead of the contest at 37-25. Another McFarland 3-pointer and Adamson old-fashioned 3-point play pushed the lead to 16 at 43-27. Later, another Adamson 3-pointer and a Lasek basket gave Highland a 48-29 lead with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter. Going back to the end of the second quarter, Highland outscored North Cedar 22-4 in gaining, what seemed like, a comfortable edge.
North Cedar pumped up the defensive pressure and delivered a pair of steals and lay-ins as part of a 7-0 spurt to pull within 11 at 49-38.
Lasek took over for Highland in the final minute of the third with a pair of nice baskets to give Highland a 53-40 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Huskies continued to hold their double-digit lead over the first half of the final quarter. North Cedar went into foul mode and Highland scored all 19 of their fourth-quarter points from the free-throw line to secure the victory.
Lasek added to his 23 points with a monster effort on the glass with 19 rebounds. He also added seven assists. Adamson was 4-for-7 from 3-point range. McFarland added 12 points.
Sahr led North Cedar with 24 points. Keon McCullough scored 23.