Scots Stifle Jesuit in Key 7-6A Clash

Highland Park’s boys basketball win on Tuesday might have carried more weight than a typical late comeback on the road against a neighborhood rival.

There could be playoff implications down the road after the Scots rallied past Jesuit Dallas 49-42 at a packed Walsh Gym.

HP and the Rangers are now tied for second place in the District 7-6A standings behind front-running Richardson, who will face Jesuit on Friday as the first half of the league schedule wraps up.

“We made some big plays at some key moments,” said HP head coach David Piehler. “It wasn’t just one person. I’m proud of how they responded.”

The Scots (18-7, 6-1) trailed for much of the game but took the lead for good with five straight points by Caden Cantrell early in the fourth quarter — first on a steal and layup, then a 3-pointer.

Jordan Stribling punctuated the pivotal 9-0 run with a dunk that coincided with a lengthy scoring drought by Jesuit, which made just six field goals after halftime.

“We got out of rhythm,” said Jesuit head coach Chris Hill. “I’ve got to call some better plays, and we’ve got to execute a little better and be more thoughtful with our possessions.”

Henry Beckett tallied 16 points to lead HP, while Stribling added 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Jacob Ariyo led the defensive effort.

Caleb Steger scored 11 of his team-high 13 points before halftime for the Rangers. Hank Gramlich had 10, while Michael Grant and Tre Mergerson added seven apiece.

HP made just two perimeter shots and struggled at the free-throw line but used its size advantage to accumulate 38 points in the paint. The Scots also held a decisive rebounding advantage.

“We did a really good job of closing out on their shooters,” Piehler said. “We had a hand up and contested their threes, and fortunately they missed some. The difference in the second half was they didn’t get many offensive rebounds.”

The Rangers (17-5, 6-1) were just 3-of-15 from three-point range, with just one make in the second half. Their overall shooting percentage plummeted after a hot start, leading to their lowest offensive output of the season.

“The atmosphere was great,” Hill said. “We’ve put ourselves in a good position to be able to absorb a loss. We can learn from it.”

It was the fifth consecutive win for the Scots over the Rangers dating back to 2014, and the third since they became district rivals last year. They will clash again on Feb. 9 at HP.

In the meantime, the Scots extended their winning streak to six games overall heading into Friday’s home matchup with Richardson Pearce.

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