HOPKINSVILLE -- Looking for its first win of the season, University Heights Academy had a tall task in front of them, welcoming Zion Harmon and Marshall County into Blazer Gym on Saturday afternoon.
The Blazers did everything they could against one of the state’s best, and while Harmon finished with 39 points, UHA did enough to grab a 77-68 victory and its first win of the season.
“It was very important to come out and get a win,” DJ Quarles said. “Nobody likes to lose.”
Quarles led the way for UHA, scoring 25 points in the Blazers’ home-opener.
“It got the monkey off our back getting the first win of the season,” said Blazers assistant Melvin Brown, who has been filling in for head coach Grant Shouse. “It gave us some things to work on going into Lyon County. So I hope they’ll be ready for it because it’s going to be a hostile environment.”
The Blazers trusted their matchups against Harmon, playing him one-one throughout the game, seemingly allowing the star senior to get his points and state while trying to stop everyone around him.
Brown said scheming against a player with Harmon’s talent is a difficult task for anyone at the high school level.
“No matter how much you prepare for him, it’s hard -- he’s a talented kid,” Brown said of Harmon. “We wanted to keep someone on him. Keep someone in his face 24/7 and still didn’t slow him down too much. We tried to keep someone on him and try to disrupt his flow a little bit.”
Despite Harmon’s 16-point performance in the first half, the Blazers held a 38-36 lead heading into the locker room.
In the third, Harmon had his best quarter.
He scored 17 of the Marshals’ 21 points in the third frame to keep his team in it, as the four-headed green and yellow monster in Quarles, KJ Crump, Will Bryan and Amani McGee kept the Blazers ahead by one going into the fourth.
UHA held Harmon to six points in the final quarter and held Marshall County to just 10 overall en route to the win.
Coming off a loss the night prior to Owensboro Catholic, UHA was very much looking for some sort of momentum heading into the All “A” Region tournament next week against Lyon County.
Crump, who finished with 17 points, said it came down to an effort on the glass to get the win.
“Last night’s loss, we didn’t rebound,” Crump said. “We’re a small team. We had to come together and hit the glass and that’s what we did.”
Quarles stepped up to the challenge of facing Harmon and in the third quarter when Harmon had his best performance, the senior answered the challenger, scoring 11 points of his own.
He said playing against someone like Harmon was a lot of fun.
“To me, it’s like AI -- he’s going to shoot it pretty much every time,” Quarles said. “It was pretty fun going up against a player like him. You always watch and you want to see how good he really is. It was fun.”
The Blazers grab their first win of the year and will travel to Lyon County to face Travis Perry and the Lyons on Tuesday.
UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS ACADEMY 77, MARSHALL COUNTY 68
MC 21 15 22 10 -- 68
UHA 18 20 21 18 -- 77
MC: Zion Harmon - 39, Cole Mills - 13, Colby Schroader - 7, Kaden Driver - 5, Kole Sedlock - 2, Brady Miller - 2
UHA: DJ Quarles - 25, KJ Crump - 17, Will Bryan - 17, Amani McGee - 14, Gavin Grubbs - 4