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Indians get past Mustangs in Highland County showdown

The Highland County Press - Staff Photo - Create Article
Lynchburg-Clay's Austin Bell and Hillsboro's Brayden Hunter are pictured in their Highland County rivalry game, Tuesday at LCHS. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

DODSONVILLE — Though the Hillsboro Indians didn’t trail the entire game, and the score was tied once, the win was a battle for the visiting Indians as their Highland County showdown with the host Lynchburg-Clay Mustangs saw LCHS make the score close on more than one occasion. 

But, as the final buzzer sounded Tuesday night at Lynchburg-Clay High School, the Indians defeated the Mustangs, 53-40. 

The game saw Hillsboro have two players score in double figures, those being Jack Howland with 15 points and Tate Davis with 12 points. On the other side, it was Lynchburg-Clay’s Denver Clinton reaching double-figure scoring with 14 points for the Mustangs. 

In the opening quarter for the Indians, they were first to score with a Howland basket, but that was answered by Josiah Burns of the Mustangs, as he scored four points in the opening quarter. The first two points scored by Burns of LCHS left the score tied nearly a minute into the game, but that was the only tied score of the non-conference rivalry game. 

“It was a team effort, playing together,” Hillsboro head coach Josh Howland said. “We feel like we've gotten a little better. We’ve got basically three more games before the second season starts, and we want to be hitting our stride when the second season starts. We feel like the last few games, we've been working toward that, and tonight is another step for sure.

“We have a pretty solid couple point guards to handle the pressure. We did turn it over a little bit, but it's going to happen when you're trying to play fast, but playing fast also gives you points in transition, so that's kind of what what happened.”

HHS answered with six straight points as Davis and Brayden Hunter each made a free throw, followed by Hunter making a two-point basket and Nic Burns scoring two points as well, giving HHS an early 8-2 lead. 

LCHS made it a four-point deficit with 3:35 on the clock with a basket by Clinton, only to see the Indians score another six consecutive points, this time off baskets by Steven Kibler, Burns (who stole the ball and went to the hoop on a fast break) and two made free throws by Howland for a 14-4 HHS lead with 57.7 left in the opening frame. LC ended the first-quarter scoring with a jumper made by Burns.

With the Indians leading by eight points to start the second frame, the lead quickly shrank to five points following a 3-pointer by Cody Bell, but the advantage went right back to eight points with Howland knocking down a trifecta with 6:47 left on the clock for a 17-9 Indians lead.

Jay Cordrey of LCHS answered with a 3-pointer of his own at the 5:52 mark, and that was followed with the Mustangs cutting the HHS lead to three points after Clinton added two points with a basket made in the paint off a rebound. 

HHS scored the next six points with baskets by Davis, Kibler and Howland, as Howland drove to the hoop for two points and a 23-14 lead with 1:40 left in the first half. 

Again, LC scored the final points of the quarter, as they went into halftime with a basket made by Clinton, cutting the Hillsboro lead to seven points at 23-16, with LCHS winning the second frame at 10-9. 

The third frame for the Indians saw them win the third at 11-9, and they led by as many as 12 points on two occasions. 

The first 12-point lead came after HHS scored the first five points of the quarter with Howland making a two-point basket, and Davis sinking a 3-pointer, as the shot bounced off the rim, into the air and straight through the hoop, putting the Indians ahead 28-16 with 5:50 on the clock. 

LCHS came back with a basket by Clinton, but HHS built a 30-18 lead with a basket by Davis. Hillsboro’s defense stepped up as Nic Burns made a big-time block at the 4:09 mark. 

After LCHS called a timeout at the halfway point of the third, they came out of the break in play by scoring the next seven points as Clinton made two free throws and sank a jumper, followed by a 3-pointer by Braedon West for a 30-25 deficit for the Mustangs with 1:24 left in the third. 

“I thought the shots that we were getting to begin the second half especially, we had about four or five positions in a row that we ran offense really well, and got open shots,” Lynchburg-Clay head coach Brian Callahan said. “Unfortunately, some of those shots didn't go down for us, and [Hillsboro] went down and converted some of their opportunities, and I thought that was the difference in the game.”

Hillsboro ended the third with four points as Kibler made a basket in the paint, and Brady Juillerat scored two points on a layup while being fouled as the Indians led after three quarters by a 34-25 score. 

The Indians won the final frame at 19-15 with Hillsboro’s 19 points coming off Hunter scoring five points, both Davis and Howland each with four points, and the trio of Kibler, Burns and Juillerat each adding two points. 

LCHS in the fourth quarter got to within five points of the Hillsboro lead with around 5:00 left on the clock following a 3-pointer by Cody Bell, but the scoring in the fourth included Cody Bell with six points, Austin Bell with four points, West with a 3-pointer and Clinton collecting two points. 

“I think they're playing hard. We are a different team [compared to the start of the season],” Callahan said. “I told them the other day, I went back and watched some of our early games this year, and I can tell you that we're a completely different team than we were at the beginning of the season. 

“They’ve bought in, they give me everything they have every night, and that's the only thing I could ask for. I’m glad that we fought to the end.”

In all for the Mustangs, they committed 14 turnovers and were 3-of-3 from the free-throw line for the game. Hillsboro finished with 17 turnovers and were 9-of-13 from the free-throw line. 

Other final scoring totals for the Indians included: Hunter (eight), Kibler (eight), Nic Burns (six) and Juillerat (four). Burns also led HHS with 13 rebounds. 

LCHS had final scoring totals of Cody Bell (nine), West (six), Austin Bell (four), Josiah Burns (four) and Cordrey (three).

Hillsboro (5-3, 10-9) has three regular-season games left, as their next game is on Thursday, Feb. 8 at home in a makeup game with the Washington Blue Lions in SHAC play. 

From there, HHS will play Friday, Feb. 9 at home against the Blanchester Wildcats in a non-conference game. They are scheduled to finish the regular season on Tuesday, Feb. 13 on the road at Miami Trace, with all three games scheduled to start around 7:30 p.m. 

Lynchburg-Clay (5-6, 8-11) also has three regular-season games remaining, starting with a SHAC game on Friday, Feb. 9 at home against North Adams, followed by a game on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at home against Felicity. LCHS ends the regular season on Friday, Feb. 16 on the road at Whiteoak in a SHAC game, as all games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. 

     14 09 11 19 — 53
LCHS    06 10 09 15 — 40

HILLSBORO (58) — T.Davis 3 (1) 3-4 12, B.Hunter 3 (0) 2-4 8, S.Kibler 4 (0) 0-0 8, N.Burns 3 (0) 0-0 6, J.Howland 4 (1) 4-4 15, B.Juillerat 2 (0) 0-1 4. TOTALS: 19 (2) 9-13 53.

LYNCHBURG-CLAY (40) — J.Cordrey 0 (1) 0-0 3, B.West 0 (2) 0-0 6, C.Bell 1 (2) 1-1 9, A.Bell 2 (0) 0-0 4, J.Burns 2 (0) 0-0 4, D.Clinton 6 (0) 2-2 14. TOTALS: 11 (5) 3-3 40.