Highlands wins own tournament

Posted on 03 January 2019 by LeslieM

By Gary Curreri

Highlands Christian Academy’s boys’ basketball team is off to a strong start at 7-3. Among the wins is the championship in their own 41st annual Holiday Classic with a 58-55 victory over Lake Worth Christian for the title. Sophomore James Nichols finished with 14 points, while senior Ryan Lassen and Andrei Ganus added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Nicholas added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. Lassen had four boards, three assists and six steals for the Knights.

I was very proud of our resilience and staying together as a team,” said Highlands Christian Academy coach Jim Good, who is also the school’s Athletic Director. “We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well that night and had several turnovers.

In the title game, sophomore Jimmy Good came off the bench and scored three big buckets including a jump shot at the buzzer to end the third quarter that gave the Knights some momentum going into the final quarter. Nursing a three-point advantage with 21 seconds left in the game, freshman Sal Federico was fouled and calmly sank both FTs to put them up five. Lake Worth scored in the final seconds to close the gap to three.

Lake Worth played a really good game and, honestly, I felt they outplayed us with a little more effort on the loose balls and boards,” coach Good continued. “They have some nice guards who get at it and got several second and third chance opportunities. We lost to them last year up at their place in OT in the regular season and then able to redeem ourselves with a win as we faced each other in the District Tournament. We were fortunate to find a way and come out with a victory.”

In the Knights’ 85-48 season-open victory over Hialeah Educational Academy, Lassen dropped 22 points and went 6 for 6 from the FT line. Alex Villas was named to the all-tournament team as he averaged 12 points and four assists over the three days. He had 19 points in the opening game, shooting 8 for 10 from the floor and 3 of 3 from the FT line. Highlands also set the school record for most 3s made in a game with 13.

Lassen was named the tournament’s MVP as he averaged 17.3 points-per-game in the three games, hitting eight three-pointers. He shot 67 percent from the field and 89 percent from FT line. Highlands went on to top Berean Christian, 67-47 to advance to the final.

The team’s three losses this season came at the hands of Village Academy, 67-52, an overtime setback against Katz Yeshiva, 64-63 and a loss in the Keswick Suncoast Classic tournament against Tampa Prep on Thursday.

Our theme this year is ‘More than Basketball’ as we are planning a Spring Break Missions Trip to Barcelona, Spain,” coach Good said. “The guys will be able to experience a ‘memory of a lifetime.’

We will be playing five goodwill games against some of the local club teams outside of Barcelona,” Good continued. “Coach Dave Bintz was the Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Northside Christian in St. Petersburg, FL where I did my student-teaching back in 1997. He is now the director of Basketball and Sports Ministry at L’Arcada Camps.”

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