Highlands hoopsters finding identity

Posted on 24 December 2015 by LeslieM

sports122415By Gary Curreri

After starting off the season 0-3, the Highlands Christian Academy boys basketball team has started to hit its stride.

Each game we were improving and still trying to establish our identity,” said Knights coach Jim Good, who is in his 19th year at the school and also serves as the school’s athletic director. The team recently won its own, 38th annual Holiday Classic with a dramatic, double overtime, 89-81 victory over King’s Academy. “Early on, I tried to stay positive and encourage the guys. Looking back, we didn’t play a complete game and it was usually one quarter where we would break down.”

The boys are really starting to buy into the system and it all came together in that championship game,” said Good, whose team last reached the title game when, in 2010, it defeated St. Andrew’s School. “It was by far, our best win of the season!”

The Knights team has now won six of its past seven games and has improved to 6-4 on the season. Reg Cook, former AD and boys varsity basketball coach at Highlands Christian started the Holiday Classic in 1978 in which Highlands won the first of its nine championships.

Knights’ junior point guard Herman Robinson was named the tournament’s MVP as he recorded his first triple-double of his career with 25 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in the championship game.

Robinson also hit the game-tying 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds in regulation to send the game to its first OT.

HCA junior forward Kyle Lassen was named to the All-Tournament team as he scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while sophomore shooting guard Matt Veynovich chipped in with 18 points going 5 for 6 from the 3-point line. He had a total of 12 three pointers in the 3-day tournament.

Beating King’s Academy in double overtime was a special moment for Good and the team.

I’m extremely proud of the guys and their commitment to work, learn and improve,” Good said. “We have a special group this year. Once a week, we have been meeting for team devotions and emphasizing: being unselfish, love your teammate, display self-control, persevere, have a positive attitude. It’s very rewarding to see the guys ‘buy in.’”

Good started coaching the elementary school team in 1997 and is now in his eleventh year with the varsity squad. Robinson and Steven Ludwig are the team’s two captains and have provided excellent leadership, according to Good.

Herman is leading the team in scoring with 15 points per game, and 6.9 assists,” Good said. “He started playing varsity in the 7th grade. Kyle Lassen has been doing a great job for us in the post and is averaging right around 12 points per game. Sophomore Matt Veynovich, who moved up from JV, has added some much needed scoring to our offense and leads the team in 3s made with a total 22.”

It’s been very rewarding as a coach to watch our team these past few weeks,” Good added. “During the beginning of the year, we were still trying to find our identity and I think we’ve done that now.”

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