It was their second meeting of the season after the boys’ basketball teams from Highland and Marlboro played each other less than two weeks earlier in Highland.
And the result was the same with a near similar score as Marlboro completed their two-game sweep at home Friday, winning 63-33.
Marlboro took the first game at Highland 59-32, and the Dukes opened their second game against the Huskies with a 14-0 run in the first quarter and led 19-8 to start the second quarter. Highland’s defense tightened in the second, limiting the Dukes to six points as Marlboro’s lead shrunk to 25-19 at the half.
“Highland made a nice comeback and stuck with it,” said Mike Koehler, Marlboro’s coach.
But Highland’s comeback was short-lived as the Dukes held them to 13 points in the second half. As the defense stood tight, the offense went to work with a 17-4 run in the fourth to ensure the 30-point victory.
“This game,” said Marlboro’s Tyler Jollie, “we kind of fed off ( of the home crowd’s) energy.”
Jollie led Marlboro with 14 points, going three for four from the foul line. Jaiden Allen, with 12 points, and Joe Nugent, with 11 points, gave Marlboro a trio in double figures. Nick Palmatier led Highland with 13 points, while going three for three from the foul line with a pair of threes.
“I thought our energy all night was awesome,” said Koehler, after his team improved to 11-1. “We played hard the whole night, which has been our goal.”
Highland dropped to 2-8 in a season with a few hits and many misses.
“In spurts we are,” said Mike Milliman, Highland’s coach, of any improvement this season.
“But spurts aren’t good enough. You have to play 32 minutes.”
Both teams played in the Section 9, Class B final last year, and the Dukes came out the victor. Now the Dukes are off on another run for a sectional title, and Jollie doesn’t see how he and his teammates can be stopped right now.
“As long as we keep playing like this,” said Jollie, “we’ll be hard to beat.”
By Bond Brungard