Meeting for the third time this season at the Kell Classic in Swifton on Jan. 3, the Highland Rebels held their own against Trumann, but still exited the tournament early, losing 58-51.
With six first quarter points from Zac Hamilton, Highland led for much of the first period, but a trey by the Wildcats' Jake Pierce tied the score at 10-all.
Trumann started the second quarter with three turnovers. Hamilton and Justin Bryant started hot to get Highland out to a 24-14 lead, by far their largest of the season.
The Wildcats used four 3-point plays, including a last-second shot by Richie Tharp, to go into the half up 33-31.
Throughout the game, Trumann Head Coach Skip Dulaney played 10 players, while Highland Head Coach Chad Arnhart was limited to seven.
Even after the halftime break, you could see the Rebels were drained, given this was their second game in as many nights.
Bryant tweaked his ankle halfway through the third quarter going up for a layup, which kept him out of the game for several minutes.
With an evenly-matched fourth quarter, the 49-42 third quarter score secured the win for Trumann.
According to Arnhart, the fast pace helps the Rebels limit their turnovers even if it does wear them down.
The frenetic play found Highland continually driving the lane for acrobatic shots that rarely found the hole, but did get Highland to the free throw line.
On a positive note, the Rebels were 13-of-18 from the line, including nine-of-10 in the second half.
Trumann and the Wildcats' fresh legs limited their turnovers to seven in the second half, which went a long way to getting the win.
Hamilton scored 17 for Highland followed by Bryant with 13 and Brad Harris 9.
On Jan. 2, the Rebels hosted Osceola.
This Seminole team should challenge Westside for the conference and as Arnhart believes, for the state title.
Tall and quick, Osceola used a 20-5 second quarter to cruise to a 77-47 3-4A conference victory.
Treys by Bryant and Landon Strobbe helped keep Highland close in the first period, down just 16-12.
Brandon and Richard Jones, the 6-5 brothers, along with 6-3 Zach Armstrong and 6-4 Deddrick Rattler, made rebounding a challenge for Hamilton and Bryant.
The Seminoles went to the free throw line 14 times in the second quarter, hitting eight of them.
Bryant was three-of-seven from the charity stripe and had one putback to account for all five of the Rebels' second quarter points.
Highland outscored Osceola in the third, 17-15, as Bryant scored nine and the Rebels kept the turnovers to a minimum.
Bryant led the Rebels with 18 points.
Hamilton had eight, while Donnie French and Kenny Nicholson had seven points apiece.