The McLennan Highlanders defeated the Collin Cougars 64-54 this evening on the road.
As is always the case between the Highlanders and Cougars, it was a close battle. Neither of the teams gained more than a six-point lead in the first half. A floater in the lane by Justin Wilson put the Highlanders on the board a minute into the contest but the Cougars responded with an up-and-under layup by John Achebe 30 seconds later. A pair of free throws from Nehemiah Nuckolls followed by a Dillon Gooding 3-pointer from the elbow gave McLennan the early five-point lead at 7-2. Collin rallied to take the one-point lead at 10-9 with 15:29 to go in the half and led 14-13 with 13 minutes to play. The Highlanders add a bucket each from Kirk Smith, CJ Hall and Wilson gave McLennan its first six-point lead of the game at 220-14 midway through the half. The Cougars cut the lead back to one before the Highlanders pushed it back to four at halftime, 31-27.
The second half would prove to look much the same as the first. The Highlanders led by three, 39-36, with 13:10 remaining in the game. Gooding got open for a 3-pointer to push the lead to six, 42-36 less than 30 seconds later. Collin began another rally and tied the game at 45 on a Daylen Minor with 9:08 remaining in the game. Chris Pryor responded with 3-pointer of his own to put the Highlanders back on top. The Pryor longball ignited a 12-2 McLennan run that gave McLennan its first double-digit lead at 57-47 with 5:22 to play. Once again, the Cougars began a rally and cut the lead to six on an Isaiah Washington 3-pointer the 1:17 to go, 60-54. That would be as close as McLennan went 4-6 from the free throw line in he final minute to seal the win.
Nehemiah Nuckolls led the Highlanders with 12 points and Diego Gonzalez added. 10.