The Heights School’s road to redemption against Maret was cut short on Friday at Winston Churchill High School during the Bobby Miller Bulldog Holiday Classic.
Two weeks ago, Maret took an easy 26-point victory over the Cavaliers, triggering a three-game losing streak in which The Heights lost by a combined 70 points.
But, after beating Landon on Thursday in the opening round, and with point guard Jake Kingma back in the lineup, the Cavs had a genuine shot at toppling the Fighting Frogs.
The Cavaliers led by three after a contentious first quarter that was subject to four ties and a pair of lead changes but Maret, which held a visible size and athletic advantage over The Heights, reversed the tide midway through the second quarter after a Marlon Beck 3-pointer.
The 5-foot-10 senior’s three gave the Frogs a 21-20 lead and from there, Maret would rattle off a 14-4 run to close the half and enter the break with an 11-point cushion.
The Heights drew to within single digits several times after being down by as much as 17, but Maret quelled the comeback, holding the Cavaliers off for a 66-55 victory.
“You want to win every game. I think, for us, you just want to compete and execute and do the things that we do well is all we were really worried about,” The Heights coach Sunny Hemphill said. “We weren’t really worried about who we were playing. It’s always nice to beat somebody who has already beat you before but were just focused on us.”
After a strong showing in the first quarter, The Heights seemed to tire under Maret’s constant pressure. Second chances became regular opportunities for the Frogs, namely towards the end of the game, and a 1-3-1 trapping defense all but shut down the Cavaliers’ offense.
“We were real stagnant on offense and they are so long and athletic,” said Kyle Depollar, a sophomore shooting guard who finished with a game-high 23 points. “So a lot of passes are going to get stolen. We just needed more movement.”
Not even Depollar, who scored a season-high 31 against Landon on Thursday, could find a way to break the traps. He managed just five of his 23 in the second and third quarters and although he would firmly plant the offense on his back throughout the fourth, scoring 11 of the team’s 16 points in the final frame, the Cavs’ slump in the middle two quarters was backbreaking.
“I think it’s just spreading the ball,” Kingma said. “Getting everybody some touches before we put up a shot, running the offense a bit.”
The good news for The Heights is that a number of early-season injuries appear to be on the mend. Kingma, who deemed that a sprained ankle he has re-aggravated several times was good to go on Friday morning, provided an enormous boost in the backcourt, taking a load off of Depollar and Isaiah Grigsby.
“He’s one of our main competitors,” Hemphill said of Kingma. “He’s very feisty, he’s strong, he’s aggressive, he’s confident, he’s another ball handler which takes some pressure off of Kyle and Isaiah which is always good. I can’t wait to get him back when he’s full speed.”
Maret 66, The Heights 55
Maret 11 24 16 15—66
The Heights 14 10 14 17—55
Maret (8-2)—Marlon Beck 17; Steffen Davis 11; Alex Peltier 9; Adam Zeitler 7; Tre Bowens 6; Jalen Barnes 6; Drake Goddard 6; Ture Lawrence 4.
The Heights (5-6)—Kyle Depollar 23; Isaiah Grigsby 19; Austen Smith 6; Joe Maloney 5; Jake Kingma 2.