Highlands enters the WPIAL playoffs with an 11-10 record and little fanfare, but if you're looking for a sleeper team to make a deep run in Class AAA, the Golden Rams are a good pick.
The Golden Rams had little success after Micah Mason, a two-time WPIAL scoring champion, graduated in 2012. They went 1-21 a season later and 9-13 last season. But this season's team is playing at a much higher level. Coach Tyler Stoczynski's team finished fourth in a strong section (Section 1) and have won eight of their past 10 games. The Golden Rams finished 8-6 in the section after losing their first four section games and first six games overall.
"They have a ton of momentum going into the playoffs," Mars coach Rob Carmody said. "They've kind of hit their stride. They've got two very physical kids inside. The guards are able to get their own shot. They're all physical. Very well coached. And as always, the kids from Highlands, they have an edge to them."
Carmody knows exactly how good Highlands is. The Golden Rams have come closer to beating Mars than any other WPIAL team. The Planets needed a free throw with one second left to edge the Golden Rams, 61-60, Jan. 27.