The Hillsboro Indians started the game with the lead and held it until the final minutes of the fourth quarter against their rivals the McClain Tigers on Friday night. They changed the leads with the Tigers four times in the fourth and final quarter, but were ultimately able to hold on and win 56-53 in the end.
It was a tale of two halves in the game Friday night, with the Indians owning the first half and the Tigers controlling the second, but the Indians found a way to pull it out in the end.
The first quarter started with the Indians and ended with the Indians in a big way. For a majority of the quarter, it was back and forth between the two teams but in the final three minutes, Hillsboro went on a 9-0 run. The final three baskets of the quarter were off a steal and score by Logan Kibler, Matthew Ryan scored a bucket after grabbing the ball after his shot got blocked, and Cameron Reed weaved his way through the big men underneath to grab a rebound and score with seven seconds left. The Indians led 17-5 after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, again, the game was back and forth between the two teams, this time, however, the Tigers went on their own run at the end of the quarter, scoring eight of the ten points in the final two minutes, six of them on back-to-back three pointers by Alex Hollar and Matt Barton.
At the half, the Indians still maintained the lead, 29-18.
In the third quarter, the Tigers came out in a fury and were able to trim the lead to just nine points going into the fourth and final frame.
In the fourth quarter, McClain made their comeback. In the first four minutes, McClain rattled off 11 points to Hillsboro’s just three. The Tigers had the momentum in their favor and it looked as if the Indians would let the game slip out of their hands. With 2:54 to go in the game, Zach Peck made a layup and for the first time since the beginning of the game, the McClain Tigers had the lead 46-45. Over the next two minutes, the lead changed three more times but with 1:10 to go, the Indians shifted the momentum back in their favor with back-to-back steals and scores from Marshall Ward and Matthew Ryan to go back up 54-48.
With 35 second left, Matt Barton nailed a three pointer to trim the lead back down to just three points but Hillsboro’s Marshall Ward was sent to the free throw line moments later for the one-and-one, hit both to give his team the 56-51 advantage. McClain’s Zach Peck was able to hit a two to make it 56-53 but McClain was unable to make a three in the closing seconds to tie the game and the Indians were victorious 56-53.
“We just can’t come out flat,” said McClain coach Jesse Mitchell said after the game. “[Hillsboro] got every loose ball in the first half, but I challenge the guys at halftime and they responded. We just came up short there at the end.”
“I have to give a testament to Jesse [Mitchell] and his guys’ character coming back in this game,” said Hillsboro Indians coach Bruce Miles after the win. “They could have just as easily folded up shop and been done with it but they fought and fought and we were fortunate enough to hang on there at the end. High School basketball and this rivalry and what it’s all about, out fans tonight, I can’t say enough about our student section and our home fans and the support that we got was tremendous. We appreciate that. We fed off the crowd early we were able to jump out to a big lead and fortunate enough to hang on to it at the end.
“We were able to get the ball inside to our bigs tonight. That’s our strength and I thought Matthew Ryan did a great job defensively. Marshall Ward tonight got to the basket a lot tonight, setting up and guys and he finished well. I thought it was one of his better games on the season. He came up in a big spot for us tonight.
“Logan [Kibler] hit a huge three for us late tonight. [McClain] had cut the lead there towards the end. I think it was a one or two point ball game. Logan hits that three there right in front of our bench, which was huge. We expect that out of Logan being a senior. He’s been here and been in these type of ball games. He knows what this rivalry is all about, so I appreciate him stepping up and playing well tonight.
“Also, I have to talk about DJ Brown. He’s been battling a foot issue and he fought as a senior. He was really banged up and he was able to come in and give us some great minutes. He rebounded really well and hit a big three for us and scored some big buckets for us.”
HHS – 17 12 11 16 – 56
MHS – 5 13 13 22 – 53
Hillsboro: Kibler 4(2) 1/1 – 15; Ryan 5 3/5 – 13; Ward 4 3/4 – 11; Mycroft 3 2/4 – 8; Brown 2(1) 0/1 – 7; Reed 1 – 2. Totals: 19(3) 9/15 – 56
McClain: Barton (4) 4/4 – 16; Peck 5 0/1 – 10; Starkey 4 0/2 – 8; Hollar 1(1) 2/2 – 7; Mischal 1(1) 1/2 – 6; Hardesty 1(1) – 5; O’Connor 1/2 – 1. Totals: 12(7) 8/13 – 53.
Reach Robert Stegbauer at 937-393-3456 ext. 1679 or on Twitter @RStegbauer.