It was never a set win for either team Friday night when the Hillsboro Indians faced off against long-time rivals the McClain Tigers, and despite a desperate 2-point attempt from Dalton Mischal and Landree Gray in the last 0.3 seconds of the game, the Indians took the win with a final score of 54-52.
Hillsboro ran out to a 4-point lead in the first three and a half minutes of the game, but McClain gained momentum throughout the quarter, sprinting to a 13-13 tie after McClain’s Jacob Starkey made a slam dunk with 14 seconds left. Ethan Watson made a 3-point buzzer beater in the last split second that took Hillsboro to a slim 3-point lead for the quarter at 16-13.
The second quarter saw the Hillsboro boys expand their lead to 12 points in the first five minutes of the period. Ty Haithcock made two 3-pointers in three minutes, and Payton Bell squeezed one in between. After a flurry of free throws, the Indians had jumped to 28-16 over McClain. Starkey and Jay Beatty brought it back around with a set of free throws and 2-pointers, slimming Hillsboro’s lead to 2 points at 28-26 for the half.
Things started moving quickly in the third quarter when Starkey tied things up straight out of the locker room with a 2-pointer at 7:30, taking the score to 28-28. Owen O’Conner made a 2-point shot that brought McClain into a short-lived lead at 30-28 until Marshall Ward took a 2 that tied the score again. The Tigers persisted, and before the clock hit 5:30, Mischal had taken the lead for McClain again with a long 3-pointer. The Tigers kept the lead for most of the rest of the quarter. With barely a minute left on the clock, Josh Keets made a 2-pointer and a free throw, slimming the Tigers’ lead to 1 point at 42-41, then Ward brought the tie back with a free throw at 8 seconds. By the buzzer, the score was 42-42.
The fourth quarter brought the crowd to their feet. Hillsboro jumped to a 4-point lead in the first few minutes, then tacked on another 2 points from Keets to make a 6-point lead at 50-44 with four minutes left in the game. Mischal, Starkey and Brock Dean worked hard to narrow the Indians’ lead to 2 points before Starkey tied the score at 52-52 with a sweet 2-pointer at 1:15. It was Ethan Watson who brought the score to 54-52 at 0:38 seconds. With just 0.3 seconds on the clock, Mischal put the ball in the court on the Tigers’ side, and Gray tried a 2-pointer, but it didn’t fit in the basket. When the buzzer sounded, Hillsboro had secured the win
“Marshall Ward, man, in the fourth quarter, he had some huge shots,” said Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles. “We told our kids at halftime, they were going to make a run. This is what this rivalry is all about — every time you play with these two schools you can throw up the records, and tonight was another indication of that.”
“I can stomach this loss more than some of these other ones that we didn’t beat,” said McClain head coach Jesse Mitchell. “They shot us out of the zone. We were going to try to mix it up 50/50 tonight, but we probably went 10/90.”
Hillsboro — 16 12 14 12 — 54
McClain — 13 13 16 10 — 52
HHS: Swayne 1-1/1-3; Bell (1)-3; Ryan 1-2; Ward 5-1/2-11; Watson 4(2)-2/2-16; Anderson 1/2-1; Haithcock (2)-6; Keets 5-2/2-12
MHS: O’Conner 2-4; Starkey 12-0/2-24; Carton 1(2)-2/3-10; Mischal 2(1)-0/2-7; Gray 2-4; Beatty 1-1/2-3
Lynchburg-Clay takes home win
The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs beat West Union Friday night with a final score of 78-56.
Whiteoak falls to Ripley
The Whiteoak Wildcats lost to Ripley Friday night with a final score of 52-39.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @SportsWrighter.