Much like the Rebel teams of the past few years, one bad quarter did Highland in against Valley View.
Reviewing the first, third and fourth quarters found the Rebels down a manageable seven points, but a 29-11 second quarter propelled the Blazers to a 62-37 conference win at the Hutson Center on Nov. 29.
"(Monday) was our first real day of having a full-blown practice with every kid there," Rebel Head Coach Johnny Taylor explained. "Can't get frustrated. Can't get down. Got to stay the course. Got to keep getting better. Got to show up tomorrow and have a good practice."
Highland (1-5, 0-2) was knocked out of the Lyon College Invitational Tournament by a 46-35 loss to Cave City in the opening round on Nov. 3 in Batesville.
The 2011-12 basketball team is made up of seniors who were part of a Rebel team that battled their way to a Regional tournament appearance two years ago, which is the same season the rest of the team won the 3-4A Junior District Tournament.
So obviously the team has the talent to win games, but needs to improve its shooting to do so.
Against Valley View, the Rebels got to the basket many times for open shots, but only hit 30 percent of them -- as compared to 54 percent by the Blazers.
"Offensively, we'll have to be structured. We'll have to play within a system," said Taylor. "If we play really, really hard, but don't play together or smart, we're going to get beat. We've got to do all three every night. Hard, smart and together and we've got to stay the course."
Junior Ethan Hoppe made two consecutive baskets to tie the game at 4-all in the first quarter and Cody Odell tied it again at 6-all, before Valley View pulled ahead 11-6 at the end of one.
Hoppe scored six of his game-leading 16 points in the second, but the Blazers knocked down six 3-pointers to get Valley View out to a 40-17 halftime lead.
Garrett Johnson hit a trey at the end of the third for Highland to cut the score to 50-26 and contributed five points in the fourth to keep the Blazers from extending their lead.
Shooting improved greatly in the loss to Cave City at Lyon College.
Getting 16 points from Hoppe and 10 from Odell, the Rebels shot 45 percent for the game.
Oddly enough, the Rebels only had one free throw attempt in the game, which came in the fourth quarter and was made by Jalen Belleton.
The Cavemen jumped out to a 14-4 first quarter lead behind the shooting of Taylor Milligan, who had 10 of his 17 points in the opening period.
Odell had six points and Hoppe four to cut the Cave City lead to 20-14 at halftime.
Cave City was 12-of-28 from the free throw line for the night, including 6-of-9 in the third quarter for a 30-22 advantage.
In the fourth, the Cavemen only shot 5-of-13 from the charity stripe, but Highland could not gain ground on Cave City.
Belleton had seven points in the final period. Chaz Mathews added 13 points for the Cavemen for the game.
The Highland Lady Rebels did not have a regular season game this week.