Highland girls’ basketball team is defending its 2017 Section 9, Class B title, and the Huskies faced Marlboro in a close contest Thursday to help with their transition toward the postseason.
Highland led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter before Marlboro took the lead at the half, up 26-22. The Huskies came back to lead 38-35 at the end of the third.
Marlboro climbed back on top, 43-40, with four minutes left in the fourth before Bri Rozzi went to work for the Huskies.
Rozzi scored to cut Marlboro’s lead to 43-42. She continued to score by herself and stopped Marlboro cold with her foul shooting, six for eight from the foul line in the fourth, as Highland came away with a 49-43 victory.
Rozzi led her team, going 12 for 15 overall from the foul line, with 21 points as the Huskies advanced to the MHAL semis Tuesday, Feb. 20 at SUNY Ulster in Stone Ridge.
“It was a big win for us,” said Rozzi. “I am excited to get to MHALs.”
Highland has worked on it defense to stifle many opponents, but the Dukes proved it is something the Huskies still may need to focus on.
“Our transition defense in the beginning and through the third quarter was a little iffy,” said Rozzi. “But we overcame that.”
Sam Garcia scored 11 points for Highland, and Erin Lofaro led Marlboro with 12 points
“I knew it was going to be a close game,” said Marion Casey, Marlboro’s coach. “Some things did not go our way. Our offense was a little slower than normal. We played good defense and hung in there.”
Marlboro, a Class B state semifinalist in 2016, plays Highland again this week in preparation for the sectional tournament that begins Feb. 24.
“That’s what I said to the girls,” said Casey, of the sectional tournament. “That’s what we have to look forward to and prepare for.”
By Bond Brungard