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By David Sharp
Highland played one of their better game of the season to date for a 57-51 home win over Monroe City in January 24, 2023 varsity boys play. The Cougars (2-16) scored the first ten points of the game.
Devin Stutsman led all scorers with 20 points. CJ Eaton put in 15 Cougar points. Brady Campen and Braden Logsdon scored six points each. Chris Gaus and Seth Evans added five Highland points each.
Highland put themselves in good scoring position early on. Devin Stutsman and Seth Evans hit momentum gaining three balls in the first three minutes. Quincy Mayfield sank two free throws for the first Panther points of the game with 2:56 remaining in the first quarter.
Missed scoring opportunities helped put Monroe City in a 12-4 hole at the first break. The Panthers scored the first four second quarter points. Monroe City found themselves in late second quarter foul trouble.
Chris Gaus hit two free throws with 3:25 remaining in the second quarter. CJ Eaton sank a three pointer for a 19-11 Highland lead with 2:05 remaining in the first half. Both teams put points on the board late in the first half for a 27- 20 Cougar lead at intermission.
Brady Campen converted a put back at the second quarter buzzer. Both teams saw shots fall in the third quarter. Devin Stutsman and CJ Eaton scored near the third quarter close for a 46-35 Highland edge.
Highland got a break early in the fourth quarter when Monroe City couldn’t cash in a four shot opportunity. A missed free throw and a turnover ended the threat. Three Panther turnovers fueled a 5-0 Cougar run to a 51-35 lead with six minutes remaining.
Quincy Mayfield started a 9-2 Monroe City run with a three ball. The Panthers battled back within a 53-46 deficit with three minutes remaining. Devin Stutsman hit shots late in the game. Braydon Logsdon canned two free throws with 34 seconds in the game for the 57-51 victory.
“We had the game plan during practice,” Highland senior Devin Stutsman said. “We talked about all the mistakes we have been making in past games. We watched film.”
“Everybody came together as a team and worked on what they needed to work on,” Devin Stutsman said. “We just got better. It’s good to put another win on the board. Hopefully this is just the start of the train and we can keep going.”
Quincy Mayfield led the Panthers with 13 points. Cole Hays was in double digits with 12 Monroe City points. Ryan Moss scored seven Panther points. Jaryn Countryman and Brent Holland scored six points each for Monroe City.
Monroe City and Highland were the top two finishers in the conference last season. Graduation has turned both teams into youthful ball clubs searching for wins. “It’s been a few years since we have played at Highland,” Monroe City coach Brock Edris said.
“Through the years we have had some really competitive games with them. Completely different teams on both sides this year. Highland did a tremendous job. I know both teams are struggling and looking for wins when they can get them.”
“Highland came prepared. The battled from the get go. We struggled to put the ball in the hole early. I was proud of our kids the way they battled back,” Brock Edris said. “We got down 15. Cole Hays is a freshman we just started dressing off our JV. He had a big night for us, hitting four threes and scoring 12 points.”
“Devin Stutsman did a tremendous job for Highland. Weathering the storm and keeping us at arm’s distance. He made some really big shots for them. We had a chance late. Right now, consistency is what we have got to work on.”
“We had a great game against Canton last night where we made shots,” Brock Edris said. “Tonight we couldn’t hardly throw it in the ocean.”
“It’s been a long season,” Highland coach David Devaney said. “It’s been a tough season for these kids. For them to come out here and play as hard as they did. Considering what has happened to them this season, it is really a tribute to them. I was really pleased with what they did.”
“I have told them all along, if they put everything together they could be a decent team. I want them to enjoy this one,” David Devaney said. “This is what happens when you play together you play hard, you can accomplish a lot of things.”
“I thought tonight, we played together better than any game we have played all year. We had a few moments where we lost focus, but we were able to pull ourselves back. That is so important for these guys.”
“It was a great game to watch,” Coach Devaney said. “I think the crowd got a lot of pleasure out of it. It was a home game for these kids and it will help their confidence tremendously.”