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Boys basketball: Zoran Talley, Merrillville survive Highland’s hot first half

Updated: January 2, 2013 6:13AM



MERRILLVILLE — It may have not been the way Merrillville anticipated at first, but the Pirates got control against a hot-shooting Highland team to capture the 75-52 win on Friday.

“Highland came out shooting extremely well and finding their shots through our defense,” Merrillville coach TJ Lux said. “But our team is experienced and settled down and applied our style of pressure defense that created the opportunity to get the win against a good Highland team.”

Merrillville ran out to an early 6-0 lead, but Highland found its groove on offense, thanks in part to the hot shooting of sophomore Tommy Brankin. Brankin shot an impressive 5 of 7 from the 3-point line, leading his team with 23 points. His shooting, coupled with solid play, gave Highland an 18-9 lead after the first quarter.

Merrillville clamped down defensively in the second quarter but Highland still managed to find scoring opportunities making it a Merrillville lead of 30-29 at the half.

The start of the second half was all Merrillville as the Pirates were dynamic on the defensive side which created fast break opportunities for the Pirates, mainly Zoran Talley. Talley put on a show and rocked the gym with several thunderous dunks, leading all scorers with 25 points. But the mild mannered senior was quick to mention the entire team.

“We came out and played better defense in the second half which created opportunities to score not only for myself, but my teammates, we didn’t panic as much as got frustrated being down early, but we kept our minds in the game and came out with the win.

Merrillville (2-0) outscored Highland 55-23 in the second half thanks to the scoring of Talley, Jelani Pruitt with 16 points and B.J. Jenkins with 11 points.

Highland (0-2) shot 63 percent from the field in the first half led by Brankin, and Nick Elish with 11 points.



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