SPARTA — Highland boys basketball coach Mike Hoyng knew this was a young team.
The Scots, with just two seniors and four juniors on their varsity roster, have had their growing pains so far this season. Wednesday’s game against Columbus South was no exception.
Highland struggled to put points on the board, collecting more turnovers (29) than shots (23) in its 49-26 defeat to the Bulldogs.
The Scots (0-4) actually started the game like they would make it a contest, hitting their first shot when Curtis Belcher drained a 3-pointer.
That would be the lone highlight for Highland.
The Bulldogs (3-3) went on a 17-2 run from there, taking full control for the rest of the game. Oumar Diop had a solid dunk and Chris Byrd drained a long-distance 3 to highlight the run.
South played a game of patience from there, averaging nearly 45 seconds per possession for the rest of the half. Byrd’s seven points led the Bulldogs in that span.
Belcher, however, continued hitting shots. He hit his next three-point attempt, then drew a foul on a successful layup. By halftime, he had nine of the Scots’ 12 points.
The rest of the game was an exhibition of defense on the part of South. The team applied full-court pressure on Highland, collecting steals and forcing errant throws. The Bulldogs ended the night with 19 steals, with eight different players collecting more than one.
Highland, in the meantime, shot just 7-for-23 (30 percent) from the floor on the night. Defensively, the Scots collected just two steals and forced 10 turnovers.
“Until we get better on our fundamentals, and learn to compete at the varsity level, then that’s the way it will be,” said Hoyng. “At some point, I hope our kids figure out that they have to be extremely tough with the basketball and they have to be fundamentally sound.”