Tolbert Fuels Rams’ Defeat Of Huskies


Thomas Clawson

Elijah Tolbert mid-dribble against the huskies

Maisie Stevens, Staff Writer

On December 3rd the Highland Rams competed against the Hillcrest Huskies in their second home game of the season. After losing to Mountain Ridge and taking a win at Judge, the Rams were hoping for their first home game win this season. And after a well-played game, they succeeded with a final score of 73-59.  

Highland senior Elijah Tolbert led a scoring outburst for Highland, finishing with 33 points. It was his big second half that turned a close game into a comfortable win. 

But the final 14-point margin does not reveal how close of a battle it was. 

This game bounced back and forth, especially in the first quarter. Highland scored the first points but Hillcrest matched them back. With each possession the teams fought to score and prevent the other team from scoring. Hillcrest took the first lead after Highland’s first points, but Highland took it back after scoring on their next 3 possessions. But at the end of the quarter Hillcrest had a 5-2 run, taking a 17-16 over Highland after the quarter. 

The second quarter was when Highland started to pick up its momentum, outscoring Hillcrest 21-13. It began when Highland’s Elijah Tolbert, was being guarded by 2 Hillcrest players. He was fouled and made both of the free throws he was given. This put Highland in the lead 18-17, and they didn’t lose this lead for the rest of the game. Towards the end of the half, Hillcrest started to creep up on Highland’s lead with a 4-0 run to cut the lead to 27-26 with just under four minutes left. But Highland put a stop to this and quickly outscored Hillcrest with a 10-4 run to take a 37 – 30 lead into the break.  

As the players headed to the locker room, the student sections were cheering for their school as loud as they could. This year, students and parents have been allowed to come and watch and support their players, something that was rare for last year’s games. And heading into the second half, the student sections’ sprits were high and their cheers loud for their players as they fought in this close game.  

To begin the third quarter, the Rams really opened up the game with a quick scoring burst.  Tolbert hit an open three-pointer, Sefa Brown offensively rebounded for 2, and Matt Lambson sunk another three for the Highland Rams. But Hillcrest once again fought back. This was a very high and close scoring quarter for both teams. By the time the quarter ended, Hillcrest had scored 25 points compared to Highland’s 20. Each school screamed encouragement and cheered as the 3rd quarter ended 57-55 for Highland.  

This close game meant unimaginable pressure on the players as the fourth quarter began. With each foul and free throw came screams from the other team’s supporters. Many of the players that took free throws in the fourth encountered many obstacles that could break their concentration, but they all held on to it. The energy from the crowd in this quarter was incredible. Everyone was on their feet screaming in anticipation for each play.  

“It was electric,” Lambson, the second highest scorer with 16 points, said. “It was really fun to play in.”   

Highland embraced this energy and took off, scoring on almost every possession and hitting all the shots necessary to seal the deal on this game. About halfway through the quarter, a travel was called on Hillcrest. Highland’s students erupted as the ball was given to Highland. Off of this travel, Tolbert hit his final of six three-pointers that night, putting Highland up 63-55, and an already ecstatic crowd went wild. 

Highland overwhelmed Hillcrest in the last minutes, outscoring them in the quarter 16-5. 

Throughout this game but especially the last quarter, the energy in the gym was outstanding.  

The Rams handled the ball really well in this game, getting it where it needed to be and opening up opportunities for big plays.