HIGHLAND | In the first half, Aaron Haggard scored 18 points for Hammond and outscored the host Trojans by himself.
The junior guard finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds as the Wildcats picked up a 60-44 win at Highland on Tuesday night. Antonio Poole finished with 10 points for Hammond and Deante’ Rias added 10 off the bench for the Wildcats.
A staunch defensive effort by Hammond complemented Haggard’s performance as the Wildcats did not allow any Highland scorer to reach double-digits. Ben Wood and Tommy Brankin led the Trojans with eight points apiece, combining for 10 points on 10-of-11 shooting from the free throw line.
The Wildcats committed 18 team fouls but a large lead allowed Hammond to play with at least two reserves on the court for nearly the entire second half. No Wildcat fouled out.
The game was off to a slow start before Demetrius Abram opened the scoring with a jumper from the elbow for Hammond. Haggard scored the next 12 points for the Wildcats, who led 14-9 after the first quarter.
Hammond went 8-0 to open the second quarter and unofficially put the game away, leading 22-9 at the 5:33 mark. The Wildcats had their largest lead of the game after back-to-back layups by Poole made it 29-13 with just under three minutes left in the half. Hammond led 33-17 at halftime.
The Trojans outscored Hammond 16-14 in the fourth quarter but was never able to put together a strong rally as both teams scored 27 points in the second half.
Highland coach Jordan Heckard was given a technical foul with 3:40 left in the game and his team trailing 54-38.