Howland is assured of its first winning season since 1997-98.
By GREG GULAS
HOWLAND -- Howland basketball player Scott Day seems to do his best work at night.
After his performance against Hubbard Tuesday, Eagles coach Tom King doesn't want to see him or the Tigers again this season.
Day had a game-high 20 points and a team-high six rebounds, and along with teammate Justin Byler, canned four buckets from beyond the arc as Howland defeated Hubbard 72-61 at the Howland Gymnasium.
"Howland is a very good basketball team and is playing really well together right now," King said of his Metro Athletic Conference opponent. "We feel good about our chances when the game is in the 30s, 40s and even the 50s.
"[But] they are just too explosive to try to run with," King said. "We're a patient team offensively, but defensively we couldn't take one thing away from them without conceding something."
Howland coach Bernie Bolha felt good about his team's victory on "Senior Night."
"This was a confidence-builder for us," Bolha said. "We haven't been shy all year about shooting the ball; hopefully we can get our inside-outside game going now, as well.
"This was a great win for us, but seeing the joy in our kids' faces shows how hard they have worked since the beginning of the season."
With the win, the Tigers (11-8) assured themselves of their first winning season since 1997-98 when they posted an 11-10 mark.
The Eagles fell to 9-10, their modest two-game win streak at an end.
Byler and Day helped the Tigers out of the gate quickly as the two combined for 11 of their team's first-period points as Howland built a 17-15 advantage.
"Coach tells us to shoot the ball when we have the open shot," Day said. "From the minute he arrived, he worked with our fundamentals, corrected our shooting techniques and made sure that we worked hard so that we would have fun this season.
"It has been a fun season for all of us."
Day added five more points in the second period, when the Tigers outscored the Eagles, 13-12, as Howland built a 30-27 lead at intermission.
The first half alone saw five ties and 11 lead changes, with the Tigers launching 10 of their game-high 22 shots from 3-point range.
Too many weapons
"We'd make a run and they would answer that with a run of their own," King said. "They just have too many weapons in their arsenal."
Gabe McKee scored four of his 12 points at the outset of the third period and when the Tigers were held scoreless for a 3:31 stretch, Hubbard took a 33-30 lead.
Day, however, hit two treys and when Jeff Proctor added a bucket, the Tigers took a 38-35 lead, which they would not relinquish.
Both teams had excellent offensive performances in the final quarter as Jeff Jablonski canned 13 of his 17 points for the Eagles and Byler connected on 11 of his 17 markers for the Tigers.
It was too little, too late for Hubbard, however, as the Tigers outscored the Eagles, 32-24.
Howland was 28-of-54 from the field and 10-of-22 from beyond the arc, while the Eagles hit on 23-of-55 field goal attempts and 5-of-13 3-point attempts.
The Eagles held a 22-20 rebounding advantage.