Highlands opens PIAA playoffs with rout of Brashear

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Tuesday, March 8, 2022 | 9:43 PM


Brashear scored the first two points of Tuesday night’s PIAA Class 5A first-round game at Highlands.

But the Golden Rams scored the next 13 to establish themselves on their court.

Highlands led by 12 at the end of the first quarter and at halftime, then extended it to 22 at the end of the third quarter en route to a 74-46 victory over the Bulls.

“We knew they were a physical, athletic team, and their record didn’t depict the type of team they were,” said Highlands coach Corey Dotchin, who saw his team bounce back from a loss to undefeated Laurel Highlands in the WPIAL semifinals and improve to 19-7.

“We knew we were going to have our hands full, and we had to be ready from the start. They kind of jumped on us a little bit early on with some adjustments, but we were able to tweak some things at halftime, and it worked in our favor in the second half.”

Highlands will get a chance to avenge its loss to the Mustangs. The teams will meet Friday at a site and time to be determined.

Laurel Highlands, the undefeated WPIAL champion, punched its ticket to the second round with a 55-33 victory over District 3’s Elizabethtown on Tuesday.

“It’s one game at a time for us,” said Cam Reigard, who scored a career-high 25 points against Brashear to go with five rebounds and four assists.

“We just need to stay locked in. We took care of business tonight, and now we focus on Friday. We’re not done yet.”

Brashear, in the PIAA playoffs for the first time since 2008, concludes its season at 8-11.

While Reigard was lighting up the scoreboard, Jimmy Kunst was doing the same. He finished with 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.

Bradyn Foster was a force inside for Highlands and just missed a triple-double. He scored 14 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked nine shots.

A quick 8-0 run to start the third quarter — fueled by 3-pointers from Kunst and Reigard and a Reigard layup — extended Highlands’ lead to 47-27. A Reigard putback at the third-quarter buzzer gave the Golden Rams a 57-35 advantage heading to the final eight minutes.

“That was big for us,” Dotchin said of the opening to the second half. “We knew the first four minutes were going to decide how this game was going to go. We could come out and make a run and blow the game open or give them hope and let them back in the game. The guys responded and took the adjustments and applied them to the second half pretty well.”

Reigard had 10 in the third quarter, and Kunst had eight.

“For us, it’s about working together, having faith in each other and trusting each other,” Reigard said. “My teammates got my back, and I have their backs.”

Titus Gillett led Brashear with 20 points. He had 13 at halftime but was held off the scoreboard in the third quarter as Highlands outscored the Bulls, 18-8.

Jacob Davis added 14 for Brashear.

Highlands won the game despite committing 21 turnovers, something Dotchin said can’t happen against Laurel Highlands. He said his team will work hard over the next couple of days to be ready.

“We told the guys that we can’t get to Friday without taking care of business tonight,” Dotchin said. “They are excited for the opportunity again against the top team in the state. It’s another game of experience for us. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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