SPARTA — After 478 varsity games spread out over 49 seasons, the Highland Scots tipped off in their old school gym for the last time on Saturday.
The Scots played with all the energy of some of Highland’s best teams, as they led almost wire-to-wire in their 63-58 victory over Elgin.
The seniors, in particular, played with an alertness and energy they haven’t had in every game. Jake Ulrey, Nick Godfrey, Garrett Ulrey, Matt Stooksbury and Ethan Zuber played like the leaders they have been taught to become. All five of them earned their second letter this season. And all five of them put on a show for the partisan crowd.
There have been a lot of great individual performances in the gym through the years. Garrett Ulrey’s season-high 27 points may not be the all-time best, but it was enough to give the gym a proper sendoff.
“All of the seniors contributed,” Highland head coach Mike Hoyng said. “Nick had a big 3-pointer. The other guys all shot well. This time, we had a hot player, and they found ways to get him shots.”
No one else scored double digits for the Scots. But Godfrey and Stooksbury each contributed nine points, and junior Payton Woodruff added eight.
The Comets shot just 31 percent from the field (20-for-62) and hit just 50 percent of their free-throw attempts (8-for-16). By contrast, Highland went 21-for-36 from the field, hitting better than 50 percent in each half.
Elgin pressured Highland, especially in the second half, forcing 18 turnovers — compared to only six of their own — which was the only thing keeping Elgin in the game.
“They are very competitive,” Hoyng admitted. “We held our possessions and stayed with things. We took away their runs with baskets of our own.”
Elgin shot out of the gate with an early lead on three quick buckets by Bryce Adams. The Scots came back to take their first lead midway through the first period, when Stooksbury hit a jumper to put the score at 8-7. Highland capped the 9-0 run with a three-point play by Garrett Ulrey.