Hillsboro's Caleb Crawford led the Indians with 30 points against Paint Valley on Hall of Fame night, Saturday at HHS. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
Hillsboro's Caleb Crawford led the Indians with 30 points against Paint Valley on Hall of Fame night, Saturday at HHS. (HCP Photo/Stephen Forsha)
The Hillsboro Indians had balanced scoring with four players in double figures, but that wasn’t enough to snap what is now six consecutive losses, with the Indians losing to the rising Paint Valley Bearcats, 76-70 on Hall of Fame night at Hillsboro High School.

Before the game, the 2003 Hillsboro boys golf team — the state runners-up that year — were inducted into the Hillsboro High School Athletic Hall of Fame for their athletic achievements as coach Dan Spidel and players Nathan Boatman and Adam King were in attendance representing the team.

Following the ceremony, the Indians and Bearcats battled in a physical basketball game where at the end of each quarter, the lead was no more than six points, including the first frame where the Bearcats led 17-14 after eight minutes.

From the looks of how the game began, the Indians were on a hot streak, starting the game with a 7-0 run that included a layup from Phillip Mycroft, a steal and layup by Mason Swayne, a free throw from Ethan Watson and two more points in the paint by Mycroft at the 6:21 mark for the seven-point lead. Swayne finished the game with 15 points, and Ethan Watson tallied 11 points in the game.

“We were obviously exhausted (after playing Friday night). We don’t have a deep bench at all, and I knew it would be a battle over here,” Paint Valley head coach Dave Shoemaker said. “I know (Hillsboro) has had some injuries, and they’re young, but they still play hard. We’ve got to play better defensively. We gave up what seemed like a million layups, especially in the second half.”

The Bearcats finally stopped the run of points by the Indians with a put-back bucket from Bryce Newland with 5:40 on the first-quarter clock, and at the 5:01 mark, the Bearcats added two more points from Dylan Swingle for a 7-4 score.

HHS increased their lead with a steal and layup by Swayne, only to see the Bearcats answer with two points from Newland. The Indians followed with a 3-pointer by Watson with 4:03 left in the first frame, but PV had other plans as they had two free-throw conversions by Newland and four straight points by Swingle to make it a 12-11 deficit for the visitors at 12-11.

Newland and Swingle combined for 55 of the 76 Paint Valley points in their win, with Swingle totaling 28 points and 14 rebounds, while Newland was next with 27 points, making five 3-pointers.

“If you don’t guard (Newland), he’s on. I’ve got to let him shoot it most of the time,” Shoemaker said. “Normally, with our offense, with (Swingle) we like to turn it over and run it inside out and make a few passes. He’s the only guy that’s got the green light if he’s wide open to knock it down because he can shoot it from anywhere.

“He’s a good kid, and he’s a had a great career. He’s been a pleasure to coach. Hopefully we’re going to peak at the right time. We’ve got five more games, and we think we can win them. We’re looking forward to it.”

HHS added two points with a basket by Mycroft, but the Bearcats wouldn’t go away with 3-pointers from Cruz McFadden and Newland to take the lead at the end of the first frame by three points.

Paint Valley continued their scoring by opening the second with a 19-14 score as the quarter stayed close throughout the remainder the frame. The score was tied at 21-21 following a layup from Mycroft and later at 26 as Mycroft tied the score again with points in the paint with 4:07 left on the scoreboard.

HHS regained the lead with 3:42 on the clock in the second with more points in the paint by Mycroft, but PV had the answer yet again, this time being a 3-pointer by Caden Grubb, followed by two more 3-pointers from Newland for a 35-28 Bearcat lead with 1:57 left in the frame.

HHS had a 3-pointer of their own, with Jakwon Clark sinking a basket from beyond the arc, only to see the Indians and Bearcats exchange baskets to end the frame. The first half ended with a massive block by Swingle that landed a few rows into the stands, as PV led 39-33, following a quarter where they outscored the Indians, 22-19.

“Unforced turnovers hurt us. It was just not making smart passes and simple little things that we preach every day. That’s what’s so frustrating,” Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles said. “I couldn’t be more frustrated right now with this losing streak that we’re on.

“This is a game tonight that we felt good about going in, and give them a lot of credit, (Swingle) catches it, he’s going to score. He’s really good. (Newland) shot the ball extremely well. We did better in the second half on him, but the damage was already done.”

Following halftime, the Indians scored 18 points in the third with Mycroft and Caleb Crawford combining for all 18 points with Mycroft sinking four two-point field goals in the frame and Crawford tallying two 3-pointers and totaling 10 points in the quarter.

For the game, Crawford led the Indians with 20 points, while Mycroft totaled 18 points.

“Caleb can shoot,” Miles said. “He gets the ball and he’s going to shoot it. He can score inside and out, and he had a great game.”

PV scored 15 points in the third, with the trio of Grubb, Swingle and Hunter Hamlin combining for the scoring for a PV lead of 54-51.

In the fourth, the Bearcats equaled their scoring of the second frame, collecting another 22-point quarter where Cruz McFadden, Hamlin, Swingle and Newland (who made his fifth 3-pointer of the game) contributed to hold on to the win.

The Indians saw Swayne score seven of their 19 points in the fourth quarter, including three of his points coming from beyond the arc. Also in the fourth, Watson tacked on seven points, and Crawford scored five points.

In all for the Indians, they were 3-of-5 from the free-throw line as foul calls didn’t go their direction, but they also made seven 3-pointers, with Crawford making three, while Clark, Watson, Hayden Haines and Swayne also connected with 3-pointers.

Next for Hillsboro is a game Wednesday, Feb. 7 as they host the Washington Blue Lions in Frontier Athletic Conference play.