The Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs hosted the Hillsboro Indians on Tuesday night for a fast-paced, high intensity fight to the finish with the Mustangs coming out on top with a final of 73-58.
The first quarter started with an Eric McLaughlin tip in to put the Mustangs up by two. The rest of the quarter was back and forth but saw Hillsboro up on top 16-13, as they took advantage of a slow and bad shooting first frame by the Mustangs.
In the second quarter, the Mustangs brushed off the cobwebs and took control scoring 26 points, 12 of them from behind the arc, and held the Indians to just six points. Devin Pierson capped off the big quarter with a fade away three from the far corner at the buzzer and Lynchburg took a 39-22 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, the Indians once again turned the tables, getting solid play from their post players and clamping down on defense, but even though they were able to outscore the Mustangs by four in the eight minutes of play, they still took a 49-36 deficit into the fourth and final quarter.
In the fourth and final quarter, Hillsboro played right with Lynchburg-Clay, matching them almost basket for basket. Unfortunately, they had come into the quarter down by 13 points and were unable to make up the ground as the Mustangs were able to edge them out again in quarter scoring 24-22 to take a 73-58 victory.
“We went on a defensive run there at the end of the first quarter and through the second quarter where we didn’t let [Hillsboro] score a lot of points,” said Mustangs head coach Matt Carson after the game. “Their effort is always there. This is a resilient group of kids that’s going to go out and there and play their hardest. I told them in the locker room that we could have had execution few more times tonight. We’re a team that loves to get it up and down the floor but we have to be able to do that and execute as well. I thought we made better decisions at times in the second half as opposed to the first. It’s stuff we’ll continue to work on, but at the end of the day you’ve got to hit shots and we hit them tonight.
Devin Pierson led all scores on Tuesday night, but very quietly, with a 28 point game.
“[Devin] has had some big scoring games the last few games,” Carson said. “But they are very efficient high scoring games. He’ll be the first, when he drives, to look for people and find them. I think that is when we’re at our best. When we can get him lanes to drive and he can either score or create for other players. Our guys as a group are very unselfish with the basketball. We know the task ahead of us and we just want to get as good as we can the next two weeks and hopefully take some momentum into the tournament.
“Hats off to Hillsboro and Coach Miles. They’re a hard working group of kids. If you look at their record, I don’t think it reflects what type of team they are. They’ve played a few really good teams really close. If people take them too lightly when tournament time rolls around, they’re going to bite some people. And I hope they do.”
“I have to give our kids a lot of credit tonight,” said Hillsboro coach Bruce Miles after the game. “We’ve had a tough past week and the effort and fight and energy that our guys gave for four quarters, I can’t be more proud of them. We’re outmanned in about every position and those guys battled all night so I’m extremely proud of the fight these guys gave tonight.”
LCHS – 13 26 10 24 – 73
HHS – 16 6 14 22 – 58
Lynchburg-Clay: Pierson 4(4) 8/9 – 28; Blankenship 5 7/10 – 17; McLaughlin 4(2) 14; Inman 1(1) – 5; Ahrmann 1 1/2 – 3; Giordano 1 1/2 – 3; Mullins 1 – 2; Goble 1/2 – 1; Ryan 0/1 – 0. Totals: 17(7) 18/26 – 73.
Hillsboro: Mycroft 8 1/7 – 17; Brown 6(1) 1/2 – 16; Kibler 4 2/2 – 10; Reed 2(1) 2/3 – 9; Ryan 2 0/1 – 4; Keets 1 – 2. Totals: 23(2) 6/15 – 58.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.