The Highland boys' basketball team (10-5, 9-1 Delaney Athletic Conference) has won four consecutive games, although eight players have an assortment of injuries.
"It's the darndest thing I've ever seen," Coach Jason Coulombe said. Just before the Dudley Martin Chevrolet Holiday Classic, he said, "we were starting to get on a roll. And then, all of the sudden, the injury bug hit us, and it's hard to get into the rhythm after that."
Juniors Brandon Divers and Dan Cogley were in a car accident two weeks ago and were seriously bruised after their vehicle rolled three times, but neither missed games. Senior Tommy Eichmann sat out three games with a sprained left ankle, and junior Jeremy Noel may miss the rest of the season with a back injury.
Senior guard Stuart Soley, who also plays soccer and lacrosse, is dealing with a chronically sore back but averaging 10 points per game. Junior Joe Megless, the leading scorer, sprained his right ankle on Jan. 3 but has not missed a game and scored 18 points in a 50-38 win over Quantico five days later.
The All-Extra golfer is averaging 22.5 points per game this season.
"Guys have really come to understand that sometimes there is a difference between pain and an injury," Coulombe said.
Liberty Toughens Up Even though top-notch wrestling teams have occupied one-third of its schedule this season, Liberty has won four more times than last year. On Wednesday, however, Liberty lost to traditional power Sherando, 56-14, to drop to 4-5.
"We've wrestled well, but this is such a competitive region," Coach Ken Mullins said. "Region II is the most competitive region in the state. We're fighting and battling, and we're pleased with the effort, but we're kind of behind everyone in terms of experience."
Against Sherando, sophomore Dru Hicks (140 pounds), senior Brad Barker (145), senior Matt Nelson (160) and freshman Aaron Hull (heavyweight) each won. Hull, who recently recovered from a broken right arm, sprained right knee and a broken nose suffered in a car accident last summer, won in double overtime. The 6-foot, 250-pound freshman, who also started as a defensive tackle in football, has been a strong addition to the wrestling team.
"We're really pleased with him," Mullins said. "We just started him lifting weights. He's just so strong. He has no idea of his own strength."
-- Colin Fitzgibbons