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High School Basketball

High school basketball: Highland knocks off second-place Copley in SLAC


COPLEY TWP. — The Highland boys basketball team made up for some tough losses Friday, stunning Copley 60-53 in Suburban League American Conference play that saw the teams combine for 45 points in the fourth quarter.

The Indians (13-4, 7-3) tried to fight back against a game-long lead by the Hornets (8-10, 5-5), who picked the best part of the game to handle Copley’s pressure defense and hit critical 3-pointers down the stretch.

Shooting guard Cole Tessena, Highland’s season record-holder for threes, hit two of his three treys on the night in the fourth and finished with 16 points. Small forward Bryce Profitt and center Ryan Chema added 13 points apiece, while power forward Alex Jaworski and point guard Jake Osborne had seven apiece.

Jaworski also had a fourth-quarter three as Highland held off Copley by scoring 22 points in the period. Jaworski added an athletic offensive rebound and putback as he was going to the floor.

“We like to shoot threes,” Adam Cestaro said. “A three is a great equalizer.”

The Hornets made seven on the night, with Tessena hitting three and Profitt adding two.

“If he trusts me to shoot threes, we like to take them,” Tessena said. “We’ll do anything to win. That’s all that matters.”

Highland led 26-20 at halftime and 38-30 after three.

“Absolutely, we got it done on defense,” an upbeat Cestaro said. “It was really physical. We had to adjust to the game. You have to play to that level. You don’t just hope for a call. You do things against that pressure. We tell the kids go hard to the rim, use back cuts, come meet a pass.”

At times, Highland’s lead appeared in jeopardy, with the Indians presenting more size, particularly 6-foot-6 center Samuel Emich, a physical specimen who bullied the Hornets in the paint. The big man tallied nine points in the final stanza, with 13 for the game, while D.J. Jones had 16.

“That’s a big, physical, go-to guy,” Cestaro said of Emich. “We used three guys on him to keep everyone fresh.”

Down the stretch, Profitt did the dirty work in the paint.

“It was real physical play,” he said. “That’s a good team and it was a great win.”

Profitt said Highland’s 74-51 home loss to Copley on Jan. 4 was a motivating factor for the team.

“We wanted to go to Copley and get a win,” he said.

Both teams were aggressive on the boards, with Highland winning that battle 25-21.

In the first half, the Hornets jumped to a 17-12 first-quarter lead and won the second period 9-8.


Rian Klein scored 13 points as Highland beat the Indians 39-35 in the junior varsity contest.

Contact Harry H. Peck at

Highland 60, Copley 53

HIGHLAND 17 9 12 22 — 60

COPLEY 12 8 10 23 — 53

Highland — Ryan Chema 6-1-13, Alex Jaworski 2-1-7, Bryce Profitt 5-1-13, Cole Tessena 6-1-16, Jake Osborne 2-2-7, Connor Klein 2-0-4, Preston Grinder 0-0-0, Rob Huttner 0-0-0. TOTALS: 24-5-60.

Copley — A.J. Campbell Jr. 2-2-6, Tyson Durant 2-0-6, Samuel Emich 6-0-13, D.J. Jones 7-1-16, VannAubrey Thomas 3-0-6, Malik Spagling 3-0-6, Cole Beck 0-0-0, Cole Embry 0-0-0, Devin Prude 0-0-0. TOTALS: 28-3-53.

3-point goals — Tessena 3, Profitt 2, Osborne, Jaworski, Tyson Durant 2, Jones, Emich. Rebounds — Highland 25 ( Profitt 7), Copley 21 (Jones 6). Assists — Highland 9 (Osborne 4), Copley 8 (Jones 4). Records — Highland (8-10, 5-5), Copley (13-4, 7-3). Junior varsity — Highland 39, Copley 35.

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