HHS drops opening tourney game


The third time wasn’t a charm for the Hillsboro Indians when they met Miami Trace for the third time this season Tuesday in a Division II sectional tournament game. The Panthers prevailed once again, 59-40, to conclude the Indians’ season.

On Feb. 13, the Panthers clinched the Frontier Athletic Conference outright championship with a 64-53 win over the Indians. On Dec. 12, the Panthers visited Hillsboro and escaped with a 60-58 victory.

Miami Trace improved to 17-6 and will play for a sectional championship Friday night at 8 p.m. at Zane Trace High School against New Lexington (19-4), which beat Circleville in another tournament game Tuesday, 51-40.

Miami Trace senior Coleden May was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points. He had 11 rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot.

On the night, the Panthers recorded nine blocked shots.

Hillsboro senior Steven Kibler and junior Brayden Hunter shared the team lead in scoring, each with 11 points.

After a bit of a slow start by both teams, Trace’s Osborne hit the first basket of the game at the 5:24 mark of the first quarter. Hillsboro’s Jack Howland hit two throws from the line and teammate Tate Davis hit a three to give the Indians a 5-2 lead midway through the first eight minutes of play.

Osborne scored again and May hit his first basket of the game to put the Panthers back into the lead, 6-5, with 2:37 remaining in the opening frame. Miami Trace would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way.

Miami Trace led 10-6 after one quarter.

The Panthers led by as many as 14 points in the second quarter before taking a 26-14 lead into the locker room.

After scoring the last bucket of the first half, May hit a three-point shot to begin the third quarter. Down 15, things could have gone south for Hillsboro, but the Indians had plenty of fight left.

Hillsboro clawed its way back into the game with two threes by Hunter and one each from Kibler and Howland, making it just a four-point game, 31-27, midway through the third period.

Guess quickly answered, however, with a three and May got an offensive rebound and put-back to give the Panthers a 36-27 lead. Miami Trace took a 37-29 lead into the fourth quarter.

Hillsboro came within eight points of Miami Trace in the fourth quarter. As time slipped away, the Panthers were able to push the lead and the final margin of victory to 19 points.

Tuesday’s win was the first tournament victory for the Panthers in coach Ben Ackley’s three seasons.

“It’s a big win for our kids,” Ackley said. “It’s definitely a monkey off our back. The first year it would have been an uphill battle. Last year we should have won, but we didn’t take care of business. This is something else we can check off our list.”

Ackley spoke about his final timeout of the game to get his seniors one final ovation in front of their home crowd.

“There’s a reason why when those guys were in the sixth grade there was 25 of them and tonight there’s five,” Ackley said. “It was no disrespect to anyone. I’ve got the utmost respect for (Hillsboro’s) staff and their kids. I know we’ve been worried about this match-up and what they present,” Ackley said. “(I have) nothing but respect for (Hillsboro).”

Ackley spoke about what he saw from Hillsboro strategywise.

“It looked to me like they were in a box-and-one on Adam,” Ackley said. “We knew they would show something. That’s been difficult, because we looked at every different scenario. We worked on zone offenses, man offenses; everyone is trying to take Adam away. They just lacked size underneath with their post player (Dorian Stewart) out. We knew they would do something different. We told our kids to be patient. We had to see it for a few minutes to see how we thought we could take advantage of it and I thought we did a pretty good job.”

Hillsboro coach Josh Howland said, “First of all, hats off to Miami Trace. “Really, they had a similar game plan as they had the last time we played them. The biggest difference was they played with a high intensity on both ends of the floor. I thought they played, defensively, more like they wanted, especially in that first half. We couldn’t get a shot off, a clean look, from pretty much anywhere. They’re definitely longer at every position. We deal with that a lot. Of course, they have the big guy inside. In the first half I thought we contained him.

“(May) stepped up for them in a big way,” Howland said. “I wasn’t expecting that. He has a lot to be proud of himself about. It was a valiant effort from Trace, no question about it.

Howland continued, “We’re going to miss (Steven Kibler). He was in there battling for those rebounds, especially in the second half. He didn’t have any quit in him. We cut (the deficit) down and they went down and hit a couple of shots and they have nice shooters. Steven definitely battled all the way through and he has all season. Brayden Hunter has a high ceiling. He’s another one who has improved by leaps and bounds. We have higher aspirations than just going .500 and getting put out in the sectional semis. That’s not the end goal we wanted.”

Hillsboro finished the season 12-11.


MT 10 16 11 22 — 59

H 6 8 15 11 — 40

MIAMI TRACE — Ben Mathews 0-0-0; Trey Robinette 0-0-0; Grant Guess 6 (1)-0-15; Coleden May 8 (1)-1-20; Julian Baker 0-0-0; Connor Napier 0-0-0; Brady Armstrong 0 (1)-1-4; Avery Bennett 0-0-0; Bryson Yeoman 0-0-0; Austin Boedeker 0 (1)-2-5; Adam Guthrie 4-0-8; Bryson Osborne 3-1-7. TOTALS — 21 (4)-5-59. Free throw shooting: 5 of 14 for 38 percent. Three-point field goals: Guess, May, Armstrong, Boedeker. Field goal shooting: 25 of 46 for 54 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 15 for 27 percent. Rebounds: 33 (12 offensive). Turnovers: 9. Assists: 17. Steals: 4. Blocked shots: 9. Fouls: 17.

HILLSBORO — Mason Dumpert 0-0-0; Tate Davis 2 (1)-2-9; Brayden Hunter 1 (3)-0-11; Steven Kibler 2 (2)-1-11; Nic Burns 0-2-2; Jack Howland 0 (1)-4-7; Lucas Holland 0-0-0; Walker Pence 0-0-0; Brady Juillerat 0-0-0. TOTALS — 5 (7)-9-40. Free throw shooting: 9 of 17 for 53 percent. Three-point field goals: Hunter, 3; Kibler, 2; Howland, Davis. Field goal shooting: 12 of 43 for 28 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 7 of 18 for 39 percent. Offensive rebounds: 10. Turnovers: 8.

Chris Hoppes is the sports editor for the Record-Herald in Washington C.H.

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