The McClain Tigers were on the prowl to settle the score against the Hillsboro Indians Friday night after a 2-point loss to their rival earlier in the season – and they made up for it with a 57-45 win.
The Tigers shot 22 out of 34 from the freethrow line for 65 percent, while the Indians made 10 of 16 for 63 percent.
McClain’s Dalton Mischal led scoring for the Tigers with 13 points, while the Indians’ top scorer was Josh Keets with 16 points.
The first quarter saw McClain jump out to a 10-point lead, doubling up on Hillsboro’s 5 points for a 10-5 lead by the buzzer. Keets led scoring for the Indians in the quarter with two 2-pointers and a freethrow. Mat Barton was the Tigers’ top scorer for the period with a 2-pointer and a three.
The second quarter went similary, with McClain making 13 points while keeping their visitors at 9 for the period, taking a 14-point lead into the locker room at halftime. Payton Bell dropped two threes for Hillsboro, and Mischal put up a 2-pointer and two from the freethrow line.
At the half, the score was 28-14 with McClain in the lead by 14.
The third quarter spelled trouble for the Tigers as the Hillsboro boys made 15 points against McClain’s 11, cutting the Tigers’ lead back to 10 points for the quarter. Ethan Watson topped scoring for the Indians in the quarter with a two and a three, while Mischal again led scoring for the Tigers with a 2-pointer two freethrows.
Hillsboro scored 16 points in the third quarter against McClain’s 18 points, wittling the lead down to as low as 3 points in the last two minutes of the game. The Tigers managed to bring it back around before the buzzer, kicking their lead back up before the clock ran out for a 12-point win. Jay Beatty scored 5 out of 7 freethrows in the fourth quarter to lead scoring for the Tigers, while Watson topped scoring for both teams with two threes and 4 of 4 free throws.
“I was getting nervous,” said McClain head coach Jesse Mitchell. “Credit to both teams… These two teams like each other. They hang out. I call it a friendly, brother-like rivalry… I don’t have any boys at home, I have three girls, and these are my boys. We got mixed up in the zone a little bit, they got screened off a couple times and wouldn’t get our slides, but other than that, we didn’t have to show a lot of sub to play our two-three zone.”
“It was a great game tonight, the second half for us, anyway. We shot the ball true and well, and executed some really good stuff,” said Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles. “We just couldn’t get the stops when we needed to in the second half. We’ve had guys who have been sick all week, and we had other guys step up, so I’m proud of those guys who stepped in for us tonight.”
The rivals will face off again on Tuesday at Southeastern High School for a sectional semifinal at 8 p.m. The game will determine which team advances to the sectional championship and who goes home for good.
McClain — 15 13 11 18 — 57
Hillsboro — 5 9 15 16 — 45
MHS: Duncan 1-2; O’Conner 4/4-4; Starkey 4-0/2-8; Barton 2(2)-1/2-11; Knaff (1)-3/4-6; Mischal 4-5/8-13; Gray 2-2/5-6; Beatty 7/9-7
HHS: (2)-6; Ryan 1-1/2-3; Ward 1-3/4-5; Watson 1(3)-4/4-15; Keets 7-2/6-16
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.