Wildcats are Area Champs

Lake Highlands High School earned the area basketball championship Friday night, and they’ll play Arlington Martin in the regional quarterfinals, but first let’s talk about the score. Reporting two numbers should be a simple task — an aside, really — but scorekeepers at the game repeatedly attributed points to the wrong team or logged 3 points for 2. The Wildcats’ first bucket was given to Plano East (then corrected), and just before the half, LH was given an extra score, soon removed.

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It didn’t matter most of the game, since Lake Highlands dominated the court and kept the score roughly double. But halfway through the fourth quarter, Plano East mounted a rousing comeback, and every point began to count.

As the Wildcats tried slowing down the pace to manage their 20-point lead, the Panthers demonstrated how they came to the playoffs. They stole the ball, blocked shots and scored at will. With time winding down and the score at 66-61, they shot and scored at the buzzer.

The announcer called out a final score of 66-63. The scoreboard lit up 66-64. Sportswriters looked up at the scoreboard and posted their stories: 66-64. But the replay says it all — that Panther kid was well inside the arc when he shot. 66-63.

It doesn’t matter now – two points, three points. Lake Highlands should have won that game by 20 points or more. But if you went to the game and felt your head spinning every time you looked up at the scoreboard, join the club.

Here’s the good news: Quinton Perkins, Tre Johnson and Jaylen Washington combined for 55 points in the win, and Big Sam Aletan was a defensive force. SMU’s Moody Coliseum was rocking with a big crowd from both schools, and lots of recruiters wearing their college logos were salivating for a chance to chat with LH players after the game. So were children, who waited at the locker room door to get autographs.

Oh, and if you didn’t stay for the end of the doubleheader, Plano defeated LH rival Highland Park 61-54. At least that’s what the scoreboard said. Go Cats.