Highlands rolls past Ringgold in Class 4A boys quarterfinal
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | 2:02 PM
So much for problems getting untracked after a 15-day layoff.
No. 1-seeded Highlands scored early and often, rolling to an 80-57 victory over Ringgold in a WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at North Hills Middle School.
Highlands (20-3) staged a 13-0 run in the first half, holding Ringgold (12-10) scoreless for 7 minutes, 10 seconds to take command.
Korry Myers led the way for the Golden Rams with 25 points — including seven 3-pointers, five in the first half. Luke Cochran had 22 and dished out seven assists.
“We practiced hard all week,” Highlands coach Tyler Stoczynski said. “Different teams have different philosophies on how they want to get ready for playoffs. We want to continue to grind away and pound the rock and refine our team so we can be the best we can be.”
Highlands is 18-1 with four or more off days over the last three seasons. The Golden Rams will play Blackhawk in the semifinals Wednesday at a site and time to be determined.
Highlands also clinched a berth in the PIAA tourney with the win.
The Golden Rams built a 16-5 lead with 1:02 left in the opening period.
“We just came out with unbelievable energy,” Myers said. “Everyone was scoring. Everyone was rebounding, and everyone was doing his part.”
Said veteran Ringgold coach Phil Pergola: “They are the best team I’ve seen all year. Myers killed us in the first half, and they were a step ahead of us.”
Early on, freshman guard Jimmy Kunst stole the ball on a tap-away at midcourt and scored. He again stole the ball on the inbounds play and hit 1 of 2 foul shots to set the tone for the game.
“Jimmy hustles and is a very instinctive player,” Stoczynski said. “That’s something we can’t teach. He has that inate ability to make plays like that, and it’s a humongous boost for our team.”
Johnny Crise brought the large Highlands contingent to its feet three times with slam dunks. He finished with 11 points, 13 rebounds and five assists.
The Golden Rams controlled the boards. Ringgold didn’t get a rebound in the second quarter until there was 3:20 left on the clock.
Myers scored 16 of his 25 in the second quarter as Highlands built a 42-26 advantage by halftime.
“I hit that first one and felt good,” Myers said. “My teammates were getting rebounds and kicking it out to me. We do shooting drills about 30 minutes every day.”
In the second quarter, Crise rebounded and found Myers downcourt on a fast break to give the Golden Rams a 28-10 advantage right after Luke Wyvratt ended the Ringgold drought.
Stoczynski was able to use his bench extensively throughout the second half.
Late in the game, Highlands junior Dom Pesci scored his first points of the season. He had been sidelined with a major concussion.
Demetrius Butler led Ringgold with 20 points ,and Wyvratt collected 10 rebounds.
Pergola is hoping Highlands can win the WPIAL title and pull his team into the state playoffs.
“We will bounce back if we get the chance,” the veteran coach said.
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