Huskies reach finals of O’Neill tournament
Two days earlier, Highland advanced to the final of O’Neill’s 43rd annual Anderson/Craig Boys Winter Basketball Tournament with a four- point victory over Pine Bush.
During the final against O’Neill, Sunday, Dec. 30, Ryan Merget tied it twice early when he dropped a three-pointer to make it 14-14 near the end of the first quarter. Merget hit another shot to open the second quarter and tie it 16-16, but that’s as close as the Huskies came before losing 56-41.
Merget’s three-pointer at the end of the first quarter showed the Huskies they could keep pace with the quick Raiders, but in the second and third quarters, their offense became anemic when they were outscored 28-10 during that period.
“We had a little bit of trouble scoring,” said Mike Milliman, Highland’s coach, after his team dropped to 4-2. “I thought we played a nice game. O’Neill’s a quality team.”
Merget led the Huskies with 12 points, but he was shut out in the second as the team was limited to those three points in the third quarter. Highland then awoke from that sojourn and outscored O’Neill 16-12 in the fourth quarter.
“I think it’s a great way to finish the year, playing against quality competition, and that’s what you need to do,” said Milliman.
Milliman is now fielding a competitive team this season after a woeful campaign a year ago. After facing O’Neill, the Huskies opened 2013 with a winning record – but will face formidable opponents like Red Hook, Rondout, FDR and Saugerties in the near future.
“We have to build off the positives,” said Milliman.
Malik Chambers led O’Neill with 14 points.
By Bond Brungard