Highlanders boys basketball team split games

| 13 Feb 2019 | 10:58

    By Garrett Hemmerich
    WEST MILFORD – The Highlanders couldn’t hold onto its first-half lead on Saturday, losing to Wayne Hills in an away contest by a final score of 59-54.
    “We got in foul trouble and had a hard time maintaining our game plan throughout,” said head coach John Finke. “If we had been able to follow our game plan, I believe we would have come out on top.”
    An early 7-0 run led by Josiah Basket and Kevin DeRaffele helped West Milford finish the opening period with a six-point lead before momentum started to shift in the second.
    The Patriots outscored the Highlanders 17-13 in the second quarter, cutting West Milford’s lead down to only two points at the half.
    Wayne Hills was then able to take the lead in a tight third quarter and hold on for the win.
    Basket finished the game with a team-leading 21 points along with seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals, while DeRaffele wasn’t far behind with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.
    The loss followed a decisive Feb. 7 victory over Passaic Valley, in which the Highlanders started strong once again. This time, however, the team was able to hold on for the win.
    “There were times in the Passaic Valley game that we played the very best basketball we played all year,” said Finke. “I was very proud of the way we started out and got the lead right away.”
    The final score was 76-60, with Basket leading the way again, finishing with 26 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
    Point guard Chris Gomez added to his all-time team assist record with 13 for the game, while DeRaffele and senior Brandon Licursi each scored 17 points. The bigs combined for a total of 19 rebounds and six blocks as well.
    West Milford (13-6) is scheduled to travel to Hackensack next to play Bergen Tech.