Youth is served as Copley boys upend Highland
By: Chris Freeman
COPLEY TWP. — The Highland boys basketball team ran into a young Copley squad at the wrong time.
Fresh off their first two victories of the season, the Indians rallied in the second half to beat Highland 60-50 Tuesday in Suburban League American Conference action.
Copley (3-6, 2-3) had been winless until Friday but has put together victories over Tallmadge, Firestone and Highland in five days. Freshmen Amire Robinson (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Khoi Thurman (18 points) and sophomore Caleb Laurich (12 points, 11 rebounds) led the way against the Hornets (3-6, 1-4).
“They’ve got a young team, a couple of really good freshmen, and they’re figuring out the high school game and playing well,” Highland coach Adam Cestaro said.
Highland led by a point at halftime despite making 13 turnovers and shooting 29 percent, but Copley began the second half on an 11-2 run and the Hornets never led again.
“We’ve got to take care of the ball more,” Highland guard Tommy Williams said. “We had a bunch of unforced turnovers. We seemed tense.”
Laurich and Thurman spurred the attack in the third quarter, scoring seven of the 11 points in the run as Copley went inside-out to grab the momentum.
“They beat us up inside a little bit, scored a little more efficiently inside,” Cestaro said. “Their length bothered us around the rim. We took care of the ball better in the second half, we just didn’t shoot as well.”
Highland finished 16-for-51 (31 percent) and leaned heavily on leading scorer Bryce Profitt to claw back in the third quarter. After missing all seven of his shots in the first half, Profitt drove to the basket time and again. He scored 11 of the Hornets’ 14 points in the period, including 5-of-7 free throws, and finished with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
“We’re asking him to do a lot for us,” Cestaro said. “Driving inside, scoring inside and out, and we’re also asking him to handle the ball as our secondary ballhandler.”
As Profitt and the offense struggled in the first half, the team got a lift off the bench from Rob Huttner. The junior hit two shots seconds after entering the game, finishing with eight points and four rebounds.
“He plays super hard and he’s pushing every single day in practice to make the guys better,” Cestaro said. “He’s our instant offense off the bench.”
Alex Jaworski led the team with 14 points, while Jake Osborne had seven rebounds and five assists.
Highland rallied from the eight-point third-quarter deficit to close within one, but Copley finished the game on a 9-1 run in the final three minutes.
“We’ve got to play through (shooting troubles),” said Williams, who had eight points. “We’ve got to keep playing good defense, keep hustling.”