The Miami Trace Panthers returned to Frontier Athletic Conference play Friday night with a home game against the Hillsboro Indians.
The game was played in front of a very large home crowd on Kiddie Cheerleader night.
Miami Trace never trailed in the game, going on to win by a final score of 51-42.
The Panthers are now 6-1 in the FAC, 10-7 overall.
Hillsboro falls to 6-8 overall, 2-5 in the FAC.
Chillicothe defeated McClain Friday night, 46-41 to remain undefeated in the FAC.
Miami Trace will play at Chillicothe this evening with the freshman game starting at 4:45 p.m.
Hillsboro junior Ethan Watson was the game’s leading scorer, pouring in 20 points. Watson also led the Indians with seven rebounds and three assists.
Sophomore Caleb Crawford was next with 14 points.
A pair of seniors paced the Panthers, with Cameron Carter scoring 19 and Darby Tyree having 17 points.
Carter led the game with five assists and nine steals.
Junior Austin Brown led the Panthers in rebounds with eight.
“It was a struggle, everything we did,” Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles said. “We tried running different things. We got called for some illegal screens. Our guys weren’t setting up cuts very well. (Miami Trace) was being physical and they were taking away things we were trying to do. We weren’t physical with the ball tonight.
“The first half was unacceptable,” Miles said. “The turnovers weren’t in the full court, they were in the half court. We’ve got to do a better job of going in, protecting it and valuing the basketball. We had a lot of careless turnovers.”
The Indians had 23 turnovers to 12 for the Panthers.
“Only scoring 13 points in the first half, that’s not going to win you any basketball games,” Miles said. “In the second half, we came out and did some things better.”
“Tonight was a great job by us of sticking with the plan,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “Yes, they made a couple of runs, but our lead didn’t go from 13 points to two, we just lost it down to six or eight points. Our guys really stayed composed and stayed settled.
“That was as good a job as we’ve done all year of handling a pressure situation,” Pittser said. “(Hillsboro) was really scrambling on defense; they were very active with their hands.
“We managed the clock very well,” Pittser said. “We kept balanced on offense. It was very pleasing to see our kids stick with the plan and be solid through that stretch so that we could maintain that lead.”
Miami Trace took an early 4-0 lead.
The game was tied only once all night, at 4-4 with 5:38 to play in the first quarter.
The Panthers held a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
By the halftime break, Miami Trace was in front, 26-13.
At the half, Miami Trace took time to honor its 2016-17 girls basketball team that went to the State Final Four, finishing with a record of 25-4.
This is the final season for the Panther Pit gymnasium as Miami Trace will be moving into their new high school by next season and Miami Trace has been honoring many of its past teams.
The Indians played better in the second half.
The third quarter went to the Panthers, 12-11 for a 38-24 lead.
Hillsboro outscored Miami Trace 18-13 in the final quarter.
The Panthers led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth. The Indians were able to pull to within seven points (44-37) with three minutes left in the game.
Elsewhere in the FAC Friday, Jackson defeated the Washington Blue Lions, 54-38.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MT 14 12 12 13 — 51
H 7 6 11 18 — 42
MIAMI TRACE — Cameron Carter 4 (2)-5-19; Darby Tyree 5 (1)-4-17; Heath Cockerill 0 (2)-1-7; Austin Brown 2-0-4; Brett Lewis 2-0-4; Matt Fender 0-0-0; Austin Mathews 0-0-0; Dakota Bolton 0-0-0. TOTALS — 13 (5)-10-51. Free throw shooting: 10 of 14 for 71 percent. Three-point field goals: Carter, 2; Cockerill, 2; Tyree. Combined field goal shooting: 18 of 48 for 37 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 15 for 33 percent. Rebounds: 21 (8 offensive). Assists: 10. Steals: 15. Blocks: 2. Turnovers: 12. Personal fouls: 12. Bench points: 0. Second chance points: 8. Points off turnovers: 13.
HILLSBORO — Ethan Watson 7-6-20; Caleb Crawford 2 (3)-1-14; Phil Mycroft 2-0-4; Hayden Haines 0-2-2; Mason Swayne 1-0-2; Jakwon Clark 0-0-0; Ryan Scott 0-0-0. TOTALS — 12 (3)-9-42. Free throw shooting: 9 of 11 for 81 percent. Three-point field goals: Crawford, 3. Combined field goal shooting: 15 of 31 for 48 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 3 of 14 for 21 percent. Rebounds: 27 (1 offensive). Assists: 6. Steals: 8. Blocks: 0. Turnovers: 23. Personal fouls: 15. Bench points: 2. Second chance points: 0. Points off turnovers: 6.
Chris Hoppes is the Sports Editor for the Record-Herald in Washington Court House.