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Indians sweep season series against Tigers

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Hillsboro senior Steven Kibler led HIllsboro with a game-high 15 points in the Indians' win over McClain, Saturday at HHS. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

HILLSBORO — For the second time this season, the Hillsboro Indians earned a win against their Highland County rival and Frontier Athletic Conference counterpart, with HHS defeating the visiting McClain Tigers, 54-38.

Hillsboro (5-3, 9-9) steadily added to their lead against the Tigers on Saturday night, leading by three points after the first frame, followed by a seven-point halftime advantage. When the third quarter ended, Hillsboro led by nine points, and eventually the Indians won the conference game by 16 points. 

Going back to the opening eight minutes, the Indians trailed at the beginning with McClain’s Jordan Bell — who led the Tigers with 12 points — scoring first with a big-time 3-pointer, but those points were answered by senior Steven Kibler with four straight points. Kibler led HHS with 15 points in the win. 

McClain (0-9, 4-15) came back with two free throws by Andrew Potts — as he totaled seven points for the game — followed with a bucket by Owen Sykes for an 8-4 Tigers lead around the halfway point of the first frame. 

Mason Dumpert sank a free throw for HHS, and that point was followed by a basket by Nic Burns, and a steal and fast break basket by Tate Davis for a 9-8 Indians lead with 2:46 left in the first quarter. Davis finished the game with 12 total points. 

Bell took a charge for McClain, and 15 seconds later the Tigers took advantage of regaining possession of the basketball as Seth Weller connected with a jumper. From there, with 1:23 left, the Tigers regained the lead with a 3-pointer from the corner of the court by Michael Noszka Jr. for a 13-12 Tigers advantage. Weller totaled nine points for MHS, and Noszka scored five. 

The Indians answered with points by Davis and Jack Howland — who scored 13 points in the game — leaving the Indians ahead 16-13 as the first quarter came to a close. 

“The boys responded well to a little bit of adversity, a little bit of challenge,” Hillsboro head coach Josh Howland said. “Greenfield is playing better. Say whatever you want on it — I know they don't have a lot of wins to show for it and that's usually what people judge you by — but at the end of the day, they've done a lot better than they were the first time we played them.

“They’re still getting better every day, so my opinion is Coach Noszka is doing a good job of getting them to buy in and getting them to move without the ball.”

Hillsboro outscored the Tigers 11-7 in the second quarter with Davis making a 3-pointer, Howland scoring four points, and having two points each in the quarter were Kibler and Brady Jullierat. 

McClain in the second saw Bell make his second 3-pointer of the game — he made one 3-pointer in each quarter — plus two points each from Noszka Jr. and Potts. 

The Indians won the third frame at 11-7 for the second consecutive quarter, with the third quarter seeing them extend their lead to 11 points, and in the third the Indians led by as many as 14 points. 

HHS in the third saw Howland five points, Kibler tack on four points and Brayden Hunter score two points. MHS in the third saw Bell’s third 3-pointer, two points by Potts and one point each from Weller and Sykes. 

Hillsboro kept control of the game in the fourth quarter with a 16-11 scouring differential against MHS, sealing the FAC win. Hillsboro’s fourth quarter saw Kibler break away with seven points, as he sank a 3-pointer, two free throws and a two-point basket. 

“I love that kid,” Howland said of Kibler. “I’m going to miss him. I don't look forward to the end of the year. You never think as a varsity coach that when you coach it’s going to be that big of a deal, but I can already see it's going to be a big deal. 

“He comes in every day in practice and is is like a grown man around a bunch of younger men. He's mature and leads by example. He doesn't bring in a whole lot of horsing around. It’s just all business with him, and you can tell when he comes out and plays he's all business. He’s about the team. He wants to do the right thing, whatever it is.”

The Indians also had three points scored by Dylan Dixon with a layup and free throw, while Davis, Hunter and Howland each scored two points in the final quarter. 

McClain in the fourth frame scored 11 points with Weller making three baskets for six points, Bell made his fourth 3-pointer, and Sykes scored two points in the final frame. 

Next on the schedule for Hillsboro and McClain are two more county rivalry games on Feb. 6. Hillsboro will play at Lynchburg-Clay, and McClain will be on the road at Whiteoak. 

MHS    13 07 07 11 — 38
HHS    16 11 11 16 — 54

HILLSBORO (54) — M.Dumpert 0 (0) 1-2 1, T.Davis 2 (2) 2-2 12, B.Hunter 2 (0) 0-1 4, S.Kibler 5 (1) 2-2 15, N.Burns 2 (0) 0-0 4, J.Howland 6 (0) 1-2 13, D.Dixon 1 (0) 1-2 3, B.Juillerat 1 (0) 0-0 2. TOTALS: 19 (3) 7-11 54. 

MCCLAIN (38) — M.Noszka Jr. 1 (1) 0-0 5, J.Bell 0 (4) 0-0 12, S.Weller 4 (0) 1-2 9, O.Sykes 2 (0) 1-2 5, A.Potts 3 (0) 1-1 7. TOTALS: 10 (5) 3-5 38.