Highland Park was looking to gain some momentum entering the holiday break, while St. Mark’s needed to erase a losing streak.
The Scots accomplished their goal with a hard-fought 60-57 road win over the Lions on Friday. St. Mark’s snapped its skid, too, but that came later in the evening with an easy victory over Tyler Street Christian in the back half of a rare doubleheader at Hicks Family Athletic Center.
HP used a game-high 23 points from Pete Davis and some clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch to hold off the Lions, who dropped six of their last seven games before bouncing back in the nightcap.
“It was a good game right before the break,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “We’re still a work in progress. We’ve had some ups and downs, but I like where we’re at.”
Davis led the Scots to a quick start by scoring 11 of HP’s first 15 points. But St. Mark’s battled back with an 8-2 run to start the second quarter, and the Lions took their first lead at 30-28 on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Matthew Placide just before halftime.
HP capped a seesaw third quarter with a buzzer-beater of its own, with Drake Turnbull hitting a trey from the wing to tie the score at 43.
The Scots (7-6) seized momentum before Jack Gordon scored five quick points for St. Mark’s to trim the deficit to 56-55 with less than a minute to play. However, HP secured the win by hitting 4-of-4 from the foul line in the last 30 seconds.
“We made some plays when we needed to,” Piehler said. “They’re a really good team. They have good size and good shooters.”
William Caldwell controlled the paint for the Lions (8-6) with 16 points and 13 rebounds before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter with an injury. Gordon scored 12 of his team-high 17 points after halftime, while Placide added 11 points off the bench.
“I thought we competed and did some good things,” said St. Mark’s head coach Greg Guiler, whose team has practiced only 16 times amid a hectic early schedule. “We’ve got a lot of depth and some good talent. We’ve got some things to work on in terms of chemistry and defense.”
Campbell Brooks tallied eight points as part of a balanced attack for the Scots, while Ryan Michael contributed six points and five boards.
Both teams will return to action on Dec. 29 at the Allen Holiday Tournament, with HP facing Jesuit in the opening round while St. Mark’s will take on Rockwall.