Despite a wakeup call in the second half and a lightning-fast 2-pointer from Marshall Ward in the last two seconds of the game, the Hillsboro Indians couldn’t take the win from the East Clinton Astros Tuesday night, walking away with a 53-57 loss and a 0-2 record for the season.
Hillsboro started things off right with a 4-point gain in the first few minutes of play, but lost their hold on the lead when East Clinton’s Cameron Conner scored a 3-point shot and Wyatt Floyd and JT McCarren each scored a 2-pointer in the last two minutes, bringing the score to 10-7 for the quarter with the Astros in the lead.
The Indians fought hard in the second quarter with a tight exchange of 2-pointers after the three-minute mark, but their defense wasn’t enough to keep the Astros from a 16-point gain.
By the half, the scoreboard favored East Clinton 26-15.
The Indians started things off right in the first three minutes of the third quarter with some quick 2-pointers by top scorers Josh Keets and Phillip Mycroft, and Marshall Ward and Ethan Watson finished off the quarter with two layups in the last 35 seconds of play, but it wasn’t enough to take the lead from the Astros.
The third quarter quit with East Clinton up 38-32.
Hillsboro unleashed the beast in the final quarter, though, tying the score at 40-40 in the first two and a half minutes thanks to 3-point shots from Matthew Ryan and Keets and a 2-pointer from Ward.
East Clinton took the lead back less than 30 seconds later with a layup from Floyd, then took off with a 7-point run in the next four and a half minutes, keeping Hillsboro at a 1-point gain.
Watson brought the heat back with two 3-pointers in 16 seconds of gameplay, bringing the score up to 47-49 with a minute and a half on the clock. In the next 30 seconds, East Clinton made a 3-point gain with a layup and a free throw, and Hillsboro made a 2-point shot, bringing the score to 52-49.
Mycroft rebounded his own unsuccessful 2-point shot with 12 seconds left, but it wasn’t enough to slow East Clinton’s gains.
Even after Ward made a mad dash in the last two seconds of the game and smashed a 2-pointer with the stands roaring, the game came to a close with East Clinton on top 57-53.
Mycroft led the Indians with 15 points, and Keets followed with 13.
“We played a poor offense in the first half,” said Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles. “We couldn’t get anything to fall. We didn’t have any flow, and that was apparent right from the start… But in the third quarter we started to show the energy. Marshall did a great job of getting to the basket tonight. Josh did the same thing. Watson continues to get some great minutes off the bench.”
Hillsboro — 7 8 17 21 — 53
East Clinton — 10 16 12 19 — 57
HHS: Ryan: 1-2, Ward: 4(1)-1/2-12, Watson: 2(2)-1/2-11, Keets: 5(1)-0/1-13, Mycroft: 7-1/2-15
ECHS: McCarren: 7-2/2-16, Pence: 2-4, Floyd: 8(1)-9/11-28, Connor: 1(1)-5, Mitchell: 4/4-4
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570 or on Twitter @SportsWrighter.