Saturday, December 2 at 9:00 p.m. it is Hillsboro versus McClain! Really, not a whole lot else needs to be said, but there are a few extenuating circumstances to add a little more fuel to the already intense rivalry.
First off, this will be the first-ever meeting on the hardwood between the two as members of the new Frontier Athletic Conference. Second, it is being played in the Patriot Center on the campus of Southern State Community College. And, third, it is the final game of the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic which begins on Friday night with Lynchburg-Clay taking on Ripley at 6:00 p.m. and includes 11 games over two days.
Hillsboro and Greenfield met three times last season. Hillsboro won the first matchup 54-52. McClain won 57-45 at home, and then the Tigers prevailed 47-40 in a sectional tournament matchup. The winner of Saturday’s game will get a leg up in the conference standings.
Coach Bruce Miles returns all five starters to this year’s Hillsboro squad. Senior Phillip Mycroft was second team all-league as a sophomore. He only played six games last season due to an injury, but in those six games he averaged 13.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Junior Ethan Watson averaged 14.6 points per game while earning first team all-league honors last season. Junior Josh Keets averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds per game.
Coach Miles has been pleased with pre-season workouts and scrimmages. “Our preseason has gone well. The kids are buying in and working hard. We are excited to be part of this event and play in our hometown. It is a great opportunity for our fans,” said the Hillsboro mentor.
McClain graduated three of five starters from a year ago. Coach Jesse Mitchell will look to 6’4” senior Landree Gray and 6’4” sophomore Dalton Mischal to anchor this year’s squad. Ethan Cockerill, Devin Carter, and Kobe Penwell were key contributors on the JV team last year and will move into varsity roles this season. Gabrielle Chiossi is a 6’3” foreign exchange student who could get into the mix as well.
Coach Mitchell was also excited for the opportunity. “McClain-Hillsboro always seems to be a good game regardless of records, expectations, etc. Plus, it is a great facility, and a good opportunity to play in an event featuring teams like Moeller and Eastmoor Academy,” said the McClain mentor.
The Saturday night session also includes two other games. At 7:30 state powers Cincinnati Moeller and Columbus Eastmoor Academy collide. Moeller finished last season 28-1 losing in the state championship game, and are the odds on favorite to win this year’s Division I state championship. The Crusaders feature two Division I college signees. Jaxon Hayes, a 6’9” forward will play at Texas while 6’5” forward Jeremiah Davenport will play at Wright State. Eastmoor Academy was a state Final Four team in Division II last season and is expected to make the trip back to Columbus next year. Eastmoor is led by electrifying 6’4” senior Taevion Kinsey who holds multiple Division I offers.
In the 6:00 p.m. game the Mason Comets square off with the Springboro Panthers.
Tickets for Session 3 are available at both Hillsboro and McClain High Schools. Tickets are also available online at www.ohiovalleyhoopsclassic.com. Tickets will be available at the gate while they last.
This story was submitted by Bennie Carroll, manager of the Ohio Valley Hoops Classic.