Heights boys pop Kapaun 46-36
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect score.
Heights basketball team never really came to a crossroads this season. Never had glaring weaknesses that needed addressing. Never was forced to adjust when previous successes dried up.
The Falcons evolution from a star-driven team into one full of role players who complement each other superbly came naturally, and it was illustrated again when Heights topped Kapaun Mount Carmel 46-36 Thursday to conclude a 16-4 season in which it finished 14-2 in the City League.
Eight players scored for the Falcons, who pulled away in the second half, as has become their trademark. Semaj Harvey led Heights with 13 points off the bench.
One of the things were saying right now is, Every man, every little bit, Heights coach Joe Auer said. The kids really believe that (and) our results kind of speak to that. We cannot do without one kids two deflections, another kids four rebounds, another kids six points.
Ealy Bell was the clear leader for Heights early and has dominated possession at times when the Falcons need a spark of offense. But even he has settled into more of a minimal role that doesnt minimize his importance but places more of it on his teammates.
Now Heights can rely on Hervey, Tre King, Davon Gill and Arie Johnson for offense and provide depth, a discovery for the Falcons that has allowed it to control games in the second half.
Thursday, Heights led by two after the third quarter but outscored the Crusaders 19-11 in the fourth. Hervey, who scored eight points in the fourth, and Johnson, who had six, led the surge that coincided with a defensive acceleration.
I just feel like our team just knows that its crunch time, Johnson said. Were just desperate to get the win.
Kapaun cut its deficit to one point late in the third quarter but couldnt get closer. The Crusaders get most of their production and shot volume from Thomas OConnor, Brock Monty and Atir Cherne, and when each of those players started the second half well after a cold first, it appeared Kapaun could take control.
But those three cooled off again by the fourth and finished shooting 11 of 32 overall. Kapaun didnt possess a Plan B on Thursday, so Heights aggressive defense kept the Crusaders from completing the rally.
I think we benefitted from that tonight, said Auer, who accompanied son Nick, a Kapaun forward, on the court for the schools senior night prior to the game. Theres a counter like Southeast, they buried us Tuesday with jump shots. Theyre smart and heady and students of the game who like to make adjustments and like the chess match of a City League basketball game.
Heights: Hervey 13, Lowe 4, J. Johnson 2, King 3, Bell 8, A. Johnson 10, Wilbeck 2, Gill 4.
Kapaun: Sheets 2, OConnor 12, Monty 9, Cherne 10, Hickerson 1, Lickteig 2.