Highlanders top Angelina to close out 2017

The McLennan Highlanders closed out 2017 with a bang, defeating the Angelina Roadrunners 73-66 this afternoon at The Highlands.

The Highlanders struggled to find their rhythm early on as they shook off the rust from the long holiday break. Angelina opened the game on a 5-0 run comprised of a bucket by Gilbert Thomas and 3-pointer by Bryan Mitchell. A Jordan Skipper-Brown put back began the scoring for the Highlanders with 19 minutes to play in the first half. The Roadrunners led 7-2 with 17:48 on the clock. Xavier Armstead’s 3-pointer from the top of the key hit nothing but net to pull the Highlanders within two.

Angelina responded with a 6-0 run over the next minute to extend their lead to eight. McLennan trimmed the lead to three a couple of times down the stretch. The Roadrunners led 30-25 with 6:47 on the clock. That’s when Armstead and the Highlanders stepped up their game. Jashawn Talton went 1-2 from the free throw line followed by a fast break bucket by Marquez Cooper to pull McLennan within t wo, 30-28. Armstead then drained another 3-pointer to give the Highlanders their first lead of the game, 31-30 with just under five minutes to play in the half. McLennan extended their lead to four but Angelina ended the half on a 9-0 run to take the 41-36 advantage at the break.

The Roadrunners extended their lead to seven early in the second half and led 49-45 with 15:27 remaining in the game. McLennan tied the game at 49 with 12:42 to play. The two teams traded baskets for the next four minutes with Angelina leading 55-53 with 8:10 to go. The Highlanders broke the game open with a 16-1 run highlighted by high-flying dunks by Skipper-Brown, Hedgeman and Armstead to take the 69-56 lead with 3:48 to play. Angelina rallied to trim the lead to four with 17 seconds to go but was unable to pull any closer.

Xavier Armstead led McLennan with 21 points including five 3-pointers. Jashawn Talton recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

The Highlanders return to action Jan. 4, traveling to Dallas to face New Mexico at 2 p.m. at Dallas Baptist University.

Angelina: Kevin Norman 5 2-4 14; Travis Henson 0 0-0 0; Deddy Gauno 1 7-9 9; Jay Head 1 0-0 2; Bryan Mitchell 2 0-0 6; Mario Goggins 1 2-2 4; Gilbert Thomas 6 2-2 14; Angel Bullock 0 0-0 0; Isaac Beal 0 0-0 0; Nylek Cobb 8 0-0 17; Totals: 24 13-17 66.
McLennan: Aaron Gregg 1 2-6 4; Javen Hedgeman 3 3-5 9; Marquez Cooper 3 0-0 7; Xaiver Armstead 7 2-2 21; Garrett Shaw 0 0-0 0; Jashawn Talton 4 7-10 15; Dayante McClellan 2 2-4 6; Daniel Pinho Severo 0 0-0 0; Jordan Skipper-Brown 4 0-0 8; Sasa Vuksanvic 1 1-2 3; Totals: 25 17-31 73.
3-pointers: Angelina 5 (Norman 2, Mitchell 2, Cobb 1), McLennan 6 (Armstead 5, Cooper 1); Total fouls: Angelina 24, McLennan 16; Halftime score: Angelina 41, McLennan 36; Record: McLennan 14-1.