December 29, 2023 at 10:55 a.m.

Highland boys dominate at Belmont

By John Dalton

Down 9-5 early in this game, the light switch went on for Highland as they went on a 29-4 run and a commanding 34-13 lead in the first half in a Six Rivers – West Conference game played at Belmont.  

It didn’t matter who had the ball for the Cardinals as it seemed everyone had a hot hand – whether that was Michael Esser driving the lane for a bucket, Wes Kraisinger battling in the lane getting hoops, or John Dreischmeier and Bennett Smith knocking down 3-point shots – it was all Highland on this night.  

The Cardinals played good pressure defense and contested many Belmont shots, who, for most of this game, just could not buy a basket in this one.  Transition points came easy for the Cardinals with Esser leading all scorers in this contest with 26 points.  Kraisinger was next with 16, followed by Smith and Jack Tarrell with 10 apiece.  

“We came out and attacked this Belmont team right away.  I wanted our boys to be aggressive and we got to the basket, made some free throws, and hit some outside shots.  Very happy how we started the game tonight,” said Head Highland Coach Raine Voigts following the game.  

Up 36-18 at halftime, the Cardinals kept the defensive pressure on and continued to score off of turnovers and missed shots and ultimately would win this one 76-37.  

“Our goal was to push the ball and get to the basket and not give Belmont a chance to set up their zone defense,” Voigts would go on to say.  “And we had extra intensity on defense tonight.  Our juniors played well tonight as did sophomore Jack Tarrell.”

Highland is now off for the holiday break and will return to action on Tuesday, January 2nd at Richland Center.  Game time is set for 7:15 p.m.  Belmont will host Shullsburg on Friday, January 5th at 7:30 p.m. 


Highland 36 – 40 – 76

Belmont  18 – 19 – 37

Highland (fg-ft-tp); Esser 12-0-26, Kraisinger 7-2-16, Tarrell 4-1-10, Smith 4-0-10, Dreischmeier 3-0-8, Hermanson 0-2-2, Shemak 1-0-2, Washa 1-0-2.

3-pointers; Esser 2, Smith 2, Dreischmeier 2, Tarrell 1.

Belmont (fg-ft-tp); Kettler 5-0-12, Simmons 4-1-11, Hardyman 3-2-8, Opitz 1-0-3, Krebel 1-0-2, Reichers 0-1-1. 

3-pointers; Simmons 2, Kettler 2, Opitz 1.