T-Birds trending up, still have issues
By Donnie Williams - Staff Reporter
The men's basketball team extended its two-game winning streak last week with a conference win over the eighth place Pierce College Raiders in overtime, 81-78, but then fell to Lower Columbia, 85-77.
Against Pierce, five players put up 10 or more points. Neil Green and Coby Rothwell put up 11 points each, Robert Hester had 10, Travis Rice had 14, and David Harris led the scoreboard again with 24.
This was Highline's first win in which they didn't out-rebound the opposing team. Highline was beat on the board 37-51.
Head Coach Che Dawson stressed that rebounding is something the team is still working on, but it wasn't the most important factor. Highline was able to use its defense to get the ball back and hold on for the win.
Highline won the night in steals with 11, led by Coby Rothwell with four, compared to Pierce's seven total steals on the night.
Turnovers were a key factor in Highline's win over Pierce. The Raiders coughed the ball up 20 times compared to Highline's 15.
Highline's three-game winning streak came to an end with its loss on Saturday to the second-place Lower Columbia College. The Red Devils got the best of Highline in almost every statistical category.
For the second straight game, the T-Birds were outmuscled on the glass.
"We aren't rebounding primarily because [a lack] of effort, desire and focus," Coach Dawson said.
Starting center Desmond Hudson suffered a sprained his ankle in the Green River game, so he wasn't able to suit up for the Lower Columbia game.
Lower Columbia clamped down on the T-Birds' leading scorer, David Harris, limiting him to a mere 11 points on the night. This performance was Harris' second lowest scoring output of the season.
The Thunderbirds suffered from mental lapses all night, resulting in 15 turnovers on the night. Comparatively, Lower Columbia only had 9.
Highline's turnovers gave the Red Devil's offense easy opportunities to score in transition. Coach Dawson said that the T-Birds need to focus on playing to their strengths, and work harder on the glass.
"Lower Columbia is a good team that we are capable of beating if we play better. We have to do a much better job on the glass," Dawson said.
The results of last night's game against Centralia were not available at press time. Highline will take on South Puget Sound in Lacey, on Wednesday Feb. 7, at 8 p.m.