They aren’t from a town called Hickory and they don’t have Gene Hackman roaming the sidelines, but that is where the differences stop between the Highwood Mountaineers and those Hickory Hoosiers.
The Highwood Mountaineers pulled off an upset of gargantuan size once again as they knocked of the No. 2 team in the state, the Manhattan Christian Eagles, in today’s second game of the State C Boys’ Basketball Tournament 54-47. This is the second time that the Highwood Mountaineers have come into a tournament and pulled of an amazing upset. In the Northern C Divisional Highwood got the best of defending Class C State Champion Box Elder on a Wednesday night in the Four Seasons Arena.
So when are we going to stop calling these upsets?
Not a soul will believe me, but I somewhat suspected something special out of Highwood here at the State Tournament and actually called Highwood winning over Manhattan Christian.
Here was my reasoning:
For starters, Highwood isn’t very deep but depth isn’t an issue at the first game of the State Tournament. If the Mountaineers could stay out of foul trouble I thought their starting five would keep them within striking distance at least.
Second, Highwood has Aaron Skogen on the sideline. What more could you ask for? Sure he wasn’t in the movies The Quick and the Dead or The Replacements but I won’t hold that against him. Skogen always has his Highwood Mountaineers prepared for battle and if you give them two weeks to prep for anybody I’ll give them the edge.
Reasons three and four go like this: Jordan LaFontaine and Luke Davison. LaFontaine and Davison lead the State Title bound Highwood Mountaineer team in scoring. They are the real deal. They play hard, they play fast, and they can shoot the ball. Davison and LaFontaine led the Mountaineers with a 20 and 19 points respectively. LaFontaine also collected a game-high 10 boards against a larger Manhattan Christian frontline.
These Mountaineers came to play. A lot of this Hoosier-like run that Highwood has embarked on is because of their experience at the State Tournament. In his second year at the helm of the Highwood Mountaineers Aaron Skogen led his squad to a second place finish at the State Tournament when this group of seniors for Highwood High were just freshman.
They wanted to come back to the Metra.
Coincidentally the Mountaineers lost to the same team they will match up against Friday night in the semi-finals that they did in the 2012 Class C State Championship, Fairview.
I like the chances of for the Mountaineers a little better this time around. With five starting seniors in Jacob Malek, Darren Malek, Logan Ferda, Luke Davison, and Jordan LaFontaine, Highwood has the best starting five of anybody in Class C in my opinion.
From a high school with just 29 students, about a quarter of which are on this basketball team, the Highwood Mountaineers are ready to keep this train a rolling.
And why not?
You just won a game that only family, a few close friends, and one broadcaster sitting on the second level thought you might win.
The floor is yours boys. Enjoy it.
If you need help remembering I can tell you the basket is still 10 feet high and the free throw line is just 15 feet away from the basket, or just ask Coach Skogen. I’m sure he will grab a measuring tape and show you.