Highland falls to Springville in district finals

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Springville’s vaunted full-court pressure defense was on display Feb. 27 against Highland in the Class 1A-District 7 championship game in North Liberty. Highland was held to a season low 35 points as their season came to an end with a 59-35 loss to Springville.

After starting their defensive possessions with full-court pressure, Springville dropped back into a zone defense to help guard Highland’s Zack Lasek who held a clear height advantage over any Springville defender. That defense forced Highland to shoot from the outside and Mason McFarland took advantage of the open looks by draining three first-quarter 3-pointers. His 3-pointer from the left wing opened the scoring for Highland and he would hit with another one from the same spot moments later.

Despite McFarland’s baskets, Springville was scoring on their end, too. They scored the game’s first four points and did not trail once throughout the contest. An old-fashioned 3-point play from Luke Menster and a regular 3-pointer from Alex Koppes gave Springville a 17-8 lead. McFarland and Koppes exchanged 3-pointers to make it 20-11 in the closing seconds. Bill Laughlin then took the in-bounds pass, raced to half court, and heaved in a shot at the buzzer. Despite the four made 3-pointers in the first quarter, Highland still trailed 20-14.

Lasek scored his first points of the game early in the second quarter and he later added a put-back basket as the Huskies remained in range at 25-18.

Springville held Highland scoreless though throughout the final six minutes of the half and took a 36-18 lead into the halftime locker room. The Orioles started an 11-0 spurt to close the half with a deep 3-pointer from Koppes. Kyle Koppes followed with a 3-pointer of his own. Rhenden Wagaman went coast-to-coast for a basket before Kyle Koppes drained a corner 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the half. Highland was outscored 18-4 in the second quarter.

Springville scored six of the first eight points of the second half in taking their first 20-point lead of the game at 42-20. McFarland drained his fourth 3-pointer to stop an Oriole run. Cole Adamson hit a 3-pointer late in the third quarter, but Springville still held a 50-29 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Orioles went into a stall offense early in the fourth quarter to salt the victory. They scored easy baskets off extensive possessions to take a 25-point lead at 54-29 two minutes into the quarter.

Springville held Highland to just 25% shooting from the floor (11-for-44) and 23% from 3-point range (6-for-26). McFarland led the Huskies with 12 points. Adamson scored eight points and Lasek was held to six.

The Koppes brothers combined to score 34 points for Springville who advanced to the state tournament with a win Saturday in the Class 1A-Substate 4 championship game over Pekin.

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