GALION — A 27-point eruption in the second quarter was the difference between Galion and Highland on Saturday night. The Tigers overcame the Scots, 58-48, in a home Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference play.
“Today what really helped us was our defense,” junior guard Cooper Kent said. “It was our first game we’ve been under 50 points in who knows how long as a program.”
The MOAC’s third-leading scorer, Kent, scored a game-high 21 points to help the Tigers out. Kent is averaging 20.8 points per game.
Highland raced out to a 10-2 lead after a quarter of play in Galion. The Scots’ defense didn’t allow many good looks for the Tigers early.
The pace changed in the second quarter as the Tigers’ offense found success from deep and won the quarter, 27-11. Back-to-back triples from Jack Hart gave the Tigers an 11-10 lead. Quinn Miller rang in a three-pointer after another one from Hart to extend it to 24-17.
“Finally we turned it around and picked it up,” Stover said of the change after the first eight minutes. “We had good role players step up and move the basketball.”
Aron West was the high-man for Highland in the first half with 10 points. West went on to lead Highland with 12 points against the Tigers overall.
At the intermission, Galion (5-6, 2-4 Mid Ohio Athletic Conference) led Highland, 29-21 thanks to the big second-quarter run.
Highland fought back in the second quarter to make it just a six-point game with one quarter to go. Highland was shooting bonus free throws for the entirety of the fourth quarter due to Galion’s third-quarter fouling. After three quarters, Highland trailed Galion, 42-36.
The Scots (4-7, 0-6 MOAC) were unable to get over the hump in the fourth quarter. In crunch time, Galion’s top two players stepped up. Kent pitched in seven points, while Elijah Chafin had six in the final minutes.
“All in all, that was a good team win,” said Stover. “We played hard, we played physical, we played together — and we held them to under 50 points.”
Brock Church had five in the fourth quarter for the Scots and finished with seven points total. Gavin Toombs and Blake Prior had 11 for Highland.
Hart was big for Galion as another scoring option to join Kent’s 21 and Chafin’s 13. The senior added 11 points, all of which were crucial.
Next up the Tigers will host Crestline next Wednesday. While Highland will look to get right next Thursday against Ontario.