DALLAS -- Lake Highlands' boys basketball team (17-13, 8-5 in 9-5A) planned to exploit its height advantage over Dallas Skyline (14-14, 8-5) in the teams' first meeting this season.
It didn’t pan out for the Wildcats in a 63-58 loss the first time around.
Friday, Lake Highlands couldn’t help but try to get the ball to its bigs down low, and this time it worked perfectly in a 79-59 home win.
Post James Lonergan used his long frame to knock down a game-high 27 points for the Wildcats, 12 of which came in the third quarter. He fell one rebound short of a double-double.
“We put in a good week of practice working on that and making sure we could get the ball down low,” Lonergan said. “Working it down low seemed to space it out for everyone.”
That included guard Nate Welty, who sparked the Wildcats' 11-2 run to begin the second half that ultimately put the game out of reach.
Welty drained a 3-pointer just seconds into the third quarter and followed it with a behind-the-back pass to Lonergan on a breakaway that led to an easy layup for the big man.
“I had no idea it was coming,” Lonergan said. “I saw it last second and thought it was about to hit me and didn’t know what was going on, but it worked out. He’s very slippery in the post and can make some great passes.”
Welty added 15 points for the Wildcats.
The win complicates things in the middle of District 9-5A, putting Skyline and Lake Highlands in a tie for third place. Both teams have one more game to play; Lake Highlands against Richardson and Skyline vs. W.T. White.
If Lake Highlands and Skyline both finish the final game with the same result, it would force a tiebreaker between the teams.
If that situation arises, both coaches would agree upon a tie-breaking scenario, either playing another game or flipping a coin.
Lake Highlands coach Rob Wylie said he wasn’t sure which he would pick if the cards fell in a tie, but he said there are some disadvantages to playing another game for third- and fourth-place seeding.
“If it was for a district championship you’d probably see us play a game, but you might see a coin flip since it’s just for seeding," Wylie said. "I’m not real sure at this point. The problem with a game is everyone who is going to see you in the playoffs is up in the stands, taking down everything you’re doing, but in general, you’d like to decide it on the court.”