For all the marvelous things that happened to the Howell boys basketball team last year, including a trip to the Division 1 semifinals at the Breslin Center, one goal eluded the Highlanders.
They hope to reach it tonight, when they play Canton for the KLAA championship at Howell High School in a game that will be broadcast on The Livingston Post. Click here for the link.
“They beat us twice last year and in the league championship game at their place,” Howell coach Nick Simon said. “This year, it’s been flipped. I know we want to win the conference title this year, and I’m sure they want a little payback for us winning the first two games this season.”
The second game was a barn-burner, a 75-71 triple-overtime thriller the Highlanders won two weeks ago.
“It was just two good teams going at each other for a division title,” Simon said of that game. “That’s what made it such a good game.”
Howell and Canton, who finished 1-2 in the KLAA West, got there by winning their semifinals matchups on Friday. Howell pulled away from Westland John Glenn in the second half of a 59-47 win, while Canton upset Belleville at the buzzer, 58-56.
It’s the sixth home game in a row for the Highlanders, an unusual scheduling quirk.
“We had a weird stretch where we played seven road games in a row, but now we have these home games,” Simon said. “It’s really good. We have one more home game for sure next week, and we hope to take care of business with that. But this game is our focus.”
The HIghlanders (15-4) take on a Chiefs team that is 13-6 and has 6-4 senior Cole Vickers, who will play football at Valparaiso, in the middle.
“He’s as big as they come, but he’s really basketball-savvy,” Simon said. “He’s really crafty, really strong and is a big physical body. They have a lot of other good players as well, but it comes down to us taking care of ourselves and doing the things we know we can do well and coming out with a lot of energy.”