Deflected passes are a sure sign for Heights coach Joe Auer that the Falcons’ zone defense is achieving the desired effect.
So when Heights started Friday’s game at South challenging entry attempts and raising the Titans’ degree of difficulty on point-to-wing passes, Auer was pleased.
“We’re a good defensive team,” Auer said after Heights’ boys rolled to a 63-46 victory that broke a second-place tie with South in the City League race. “We’re 14-4 for a reason.”
Heights got 21 points from Devin Davis and used a 17-2 run at the end of the first half as fuel for a regular-season sweep of the Titans.
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Davis dropped in four three-pointers for his first 12 points, then joined the rest of the Falcons on a parade of fastbreak opportunities that gave them a 37-18 lead. Heights (14-4, 11-3), with former Falcons and Kansas star Perry Ellis watching on, stretched its lead to 23 in the second half.
“It seems like both times we played them, they didn’t really have an answer for both of our zones,” Davis said. “So we just stuck with the plan. It wasn’t anything we haven’t been doing all year.”
Senior Jariah Taylor scored 14 points for South (13-5, 10-4). But like their 43-35 loss at Heights on Jan. 3, the Titans couldn’t exploit a size advantage.
“It was just an off night for us,” South coach Charles Gunter said. “We had a lot of shots that just didn’t get in. They crashed the boards harder than we did, and that led to some second-chance opportunities for them.”
After Davis hit his final three to give Heights a 26-16 lead with 4:19 to play in the first half, the Falcons maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way. Sophomore K’Vonte Baker added 11 points and senior Tyrell Andrews had 10.
But it all started with Davis, who continued his hot shooting after making nine three-pointers and scoring 33 points in Heights’ 76-44 victory last week over North.
“I feel a little more comfortable with my jumper right now,” Davis said. “My teammates are getting me the ball, knowing I’m going to hit the shots. They’re trusting me.”
The win kept Heights within two games of City League leader Kapaun Mount Carmel with two to play. While the Falcons’ hopes for a share of the title are remote, Auer was pleased with the way his team stopped South’s six-game winning streak.
“We were great defensively most of the night,” Auer said. “We never let them get into a rhythm and did a great job and made it really difficult on their bigs.
“They are bound and determined to get the ball inside, and I thought we did a good job of altering shots.”
HEIGHTS: Andrews 10, Davis 21, Baker 11, Okon 4, Collins 5, Richardson 6, Kirkendoll 4, Howard 2.
SOUTH: Jones 11, Adkism 7, Tate 4, Lemovou 8, Taylor 14, Williams 2.