4th Quarter Woes Haunting Rams


Spencer Baese

Highland Player Sefa Brown running down the court.

Nason Jones, Sports Editor

The first half of the Highland boys’ basketball season has come to a close with the Rams earning a record of 9-9.

The record captures the essence of the team – perfectly inconsistent.

Highland has earned the record even though the Rams have played better than it suggests for most of the season. In fact, if games could end after the third quarter, Highland would be one of the top teams in the state.

But the fourth quarter has told a different story.

For 12 of the games, Highland held a lead going into the fourth quarter. Highland has won eight of those games with the recent win over Murray, but three of losses were to region opponents – losses that particularly sting.

Games have been decided in the final moments even if Highland had dominated the contests up until that point. 

Their first matchup against East was a near template for the close losses. Highland controlled the game, holding the lead for nearly the entirety of the game.

Highland’s lead and flow seemed to have spawned from junior Grayson Gaddis firing off three 3-pointers in a row swinging, the momentum in Highland’s favor as it went into the half up 24-16. 

East, from then on, was chasing the Rams, at times being down by as much as 10. This is when Highland is at its best, finding open teammates who capitalize on their opportunities.

“It was good cause they were open, and my teammates got me open,” Gaddis said. 

Strong ball movement and crisp shooting have been constant occurrences within the Ram’s offense… but not always during crunch time. 

Against East, shots stopped dropping and the lead slowly disappeared. 

“We had the same ball movement in the second half, we just didn’t make any shots,” head coach Chris Jones said. 

The close game turned into grueling battles in the 4th quarter to see who would come out on top, with teams trading points and fouls as they tried to hold any lead. Basketball games can change in a matter of seconds, as Highland’s fourth quarters show.  

East finally took the lead in the final minute. The score shows dominant defense by Highland, holding east to 39 points, but an offense that struggled to score in the second half as the Rams only managed 12 of their 36 points after halftime.

Highland now looking forward to avenging their loss at the highly anticipated rematch at Highland on February 10th during Freak East, while also getting a second chance at the other region opponents as well. Just recently taking down Murray at home which came down to the last minute once again, barely escaping a last second shot to tie.

“We are right there, we just gotta finish games,” Jones said.