If its a bad travel night, that must mean a cold miserable trip up the hill into the wind to Columbia Heights to see the Hylanders take on #4AAAA Cooper in a North Suburban showdown. We always like the sausage pizza and Mug Root Beer. More Hylander students out for this one. And another appearance by big Cooper fan Mike Holtz, the mayor of Robbinsdale who I had a chance to talk to at the half. A fun moment during the JV game when I'm eating my pizza and a little kid below me looks at his mom and points up towards me saying he wants pizza too. Funny but it almost makes you feel bad. But the big news tonight was no Calvin Godfrey. Suspended for reasons that I'm not aware of. That puts an entirely different complexion on the game.
Brandon Harrison is the 1 big guy in the Cooper lineup and he gets off to a really hot start. A reverse layup, 2 more and a jumper for 6 quick points and he had a block. Jacob Thomas with his 2nd assist to Harold Rainey at 13:26. Timeout Hawks down 17-15 and the pace is crazy fast. Almost such that I can't keep up. Harrison with 8 points already. Cooper's Darry Jones for 3 at 11:53 for a 22-21 Cooper lead before a quick Heights spurt. Harold Rainey with a stepback 3 and then Thomas from the corner off an inbounds for 3 more. 29-22 Heights at 9:55 after an 8-0 run. Johnny Jackson with a pair of post up buckets for Cooper forcing Drew Hanson back into the game for defense. Terrance Averyheart with his 2nd triple of the half and 2 Terry Glass free throws put Cooper back on top 37-35 at the 6:32 mark. Elijah Swen with a pair of late threes and a Charles Williams layup put Cooper up 10 with 1:30 left in the half. Zach Lofton goes right baseline gets bumped and throws in the short jumper left-handed and gets fouled. He misses the free throw but Heights gets it back and Lofton converts a 3 point play. Thomas with a putback and then a scramble with 0.2 left results in a Gerard Baptiste 3 point play to conclude a 10-2 Heights run. 57-55 Cooper after a wild first half.
Heights can't convert a turnover and Swen makes a layup on the other end. That's followed by Harrison double-clutching around Thomas for 2 more at 14:30 for a 66-59 Cooper lead. Thomas with a free throw, then a Rainey pullup for 3 and 2 more Thomas free throws cut the lead to 1. Darry Jones pulls back his dribble for space and knocks down a jumper. 68-65 Cooper at 12:10. Thomas cold at this point going 5-19 shooting but then he wakes up. He drives the lane and get out of my way for the emphatic 1 handed dunk with 12 minutes left. Then 2 between the legs dribbles before rising up for 3. Swen then with back to back drives for easy buckets. Thomas with a classic backdoor layup from an elbow pass. Swen for 3 more and Thomas with 2 more drives for baskets. 78 all with 7:55 left as we go back and forth. Thomas fouled by Harrison for 2 free throws at 6:36 and that's Harrison's 4th. 84-82 Cooper leads. Swen for 3 and then a sweet pivot around Hanson for a post hoop at 5:30 put the Hawks up 89-84. Lofton with his 2nd mini-spurt of the night as he drives for 2 and knocks down a straight away 3. 89 all with 4:55 left. Terry Glass with a pair of freebies but Cooper doesn't get back and it results in a Thomas 3 point play. 92-91 Heights with 4:29 left.
Heights' Gerard Baptiste with a foul and then a technical at 4:05. Jones misses the front end of the 1 and 1 and Averyheart only makes 1 of the 2 technicals. Heights gets a stop on the possession so Cooper only ends up with 1 point out of the whole deal. Charles Williams with a layup off a picture perfect high low entry at 3:10. Heights misses and Cooper takes timeout. Heights loses Swen on defense but he misses the wide open layup at 2:30. Thomas right to the rack for 2 with 2 minutes left and we're tied at 94. Cooper turns it over almost immediately but Heights misses 2 chances on their end. Williams 0-2 free throws with 1:34 left. Rainey back the other way splits a pair of defenders at halfcourt and finds Baptiste for a layup with 1:20 left. 96-94 Heights. Jones right back the other way and he finds Swen for a layup at 1:08. Heights holds and takes time at 41.7. They can't get it in so they take another timeout. Thomas gets the inbounds and dribbles away pressure. To the rack with about 20 seconds left, takes a bump no call and its no good. Mad scramble and it looks like Cooper gets it and has a run out, but Rainey steals it and goes to the basket. He nails a floater with 13.5 left. Cooper takes timeout in the frontcourt with 11.3 to go but they don't get a good look as Swen's 3 gets blocked at the buzzer. Heights wins one of the most entertaining games of the season 98-96.
For Cooper, Elijah Swen leads the way off the bench with 20 of his 26 in the 2nd half. 4 triples in that total. Terrance Averyheart 12 of his 16 in the first half. Darry Jones 11 of his 16 in the first half. Brandon Harrison finishes with only 14 points and 9 rebounds after a quick start. Despite no Godfrey, Cooper is still huge but I feel they could have done much more to pound the ball inside. Cooper falls to 14-3 and into a 3 way tie on top of the North Suburban with a big Irondale at BSM game looming on Friday night.
For Columbia Heights, they get a big win for section seeding in rough and tumble Section 3AAA. It also keeps them 1 game back in the North Suburban standings. Jacob Thomas leads the way with 34 points on 13-32 shooting but he made 8 of 13 in the last 12 minutes, clutch. Harold Rainey with 18 points and whole mitt full of steals. Zach Lofton 11 of his 18 in the first half. Gerard Baptiste all over the place in the first half with 16 of his 22. Heights now 13-4 and should be a favorite in at least 7 of their remaining games. With a difficult schedule they can still make a run at high seed in section play.