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Indians’ season ends at Miami Trace in sectional semifinals

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Hillsboro senior Steven Kibler is pictured in the Indians' sectional semifinal game, Tuesday at Miami Trace. (HCP Photos/Stephen Forsha)
Stephen Forsha, The Highland County Press

EBER —  After a first quarter which saw the Hillsboro Indians battle to just a four-point differential on the scoreboard Tuesday in their Division II SE District Sectional Semifinal game against Miami Trace, it was the home team Panthers who then led by at least four points, and by as many as 19 points, as they defeated the Indians 59-40. 

In the end of their season, the No. 12 seeded Indians led for a few moments in the game  — that being the first quarter where HHS (12-11) led by three points following a 3-pointer by Tate Davis, and then by a single point following a basket by Miami Trace’s Bryson Osborne.

From the 2:38 mark of the opening quarter where Coleden May scored two points in the paint for No. 5 seeded Miami Trace (17-6), the Panthers never relinquished the lead, forcing the Indians to play catchup for the rest of the tournament game. 

May led Miami Trace with 20 points, finishing the game with eight two-point baskets, one 3-pointer, and he was 1-of-4 from the free-throw line. 

“Hats off to Miami Trace, they came in and really had a similar game plan as what they had the last time we played,” Hillsboro head coach Josh Howland said. “The biggest difference was they played with high intensity on both ends of the floor, and really the defensive end. I thought they played defensively more like they wanted it, especially that first half. We couldn't get a shot off, a clean look, pretty much from anywhere.

“They’re definitely longer at every position, but honestly, we deal with that a lot. Of course they’ve got the big guy [the 6-7 Adam Guthrie] inside, and for the first half I thought we contained him. Hats off to him, he kept battling even though he was getting beat on. He played his guts out. (May) stepped up for them in a big way. I wasn't expecting that, but he has a lot to be proud of himself about. It just was a valiant effort from Trace, no question about it.”

The Indians struggled making baskets and grabbing rebounds, as Miami Trace had multiple second-, third- and sometimes fourth-chance opportunities under the hoop with their offensive rebounding skills. 

That said, when the first frame ended Miami Trace held just a four-point lead at 10-6, but the overall feel of the first half changed in the second quarter as Miami Trace led by as many as 15 points and ended the quarter with a 26-14 lead, outscoring Hillsboro 16-8 in the second frame. 

HHS got to within four points of the MTHS lead twice in the second quarter with Steven Kibler sinking a 3-pointer with 4:30 on the clock, and later with 3:46 on the clock, it was Davis scoring two points off a drive to the hoop with heavy defensive pressure on him, making the score 16-12 with the Panthers in front. 

The newly crowned Frontier Athletic Conference champion Panthers answered in a strong way, as they scored the next 12 points from the 3:25 mark to the 1:03 mark of the second. 

That stunning scoring run started with a put-back basket by Adam Guthrie, followed by Osborne stealing the ball and taking it to the hoop on a fast break while being fouled. After Osborne made the bucket, it was a dunk by Grant Guess – who totaled 15 points in the win – with 2:08 on the clock which gave the Panthers all the momentum in the final stages of the second quarter. 

Following the slam by Osborne, the Panthers added a 3-pointer by Austin Boedeker, plus after the Indians called a timeout, Miami Trace added two more points with a wide-open basket by May for a 26-12 lead with 1:03 left in the first half. HHS finally broke the scoring drive with two points from Brayden Hunter, leaving the score at halftime, 26-14.

The third frame saw MTHS start the quarter with a 3-pointer by Boedeker, sending the Panthers’ lead to 15 points 30 seconds into the quarter. HHS rallied back with 3-pointers by Hunter and Kibler, followed by a free throw made by Jack Howland, putting the Indians back to within eight points of Miami Trace. 

After MTHS took a 10-point lead with 5:24 left in the quarter, Hunter made a trey for the Indians, and following an offensive foul by MTHS, Howland drilled a 3-pointer with 4:19 left in the third for a 31-27 score, cutting the HHS deficit to four points. 

The Panthers ended the third with a 37-29 advantage, building their lead back to eight points when the quarter came to a close as Hillsboro won the frame at 15-11. 

The fourth frame was mostly Miami Trace adding to their lead, winning the final quarter by outscoring the Indians, 22-11.

HHS in the fourth quarter had four points by Davis, a 3-pointer made by Hunter, two points scored by Kibler, and Nic Burns made two free throws. 

Then there were the Panthers who took control of the game, winning on their home court one last time this season following their strong 22-point fourth frame where May went off for nine points in the quarter, followed by four points by Guess and a 3-pointer by Brady Armstrong. 

Miami Trace’s fourth quarter also included two points each from Boedeker, Guthrie and Osborne. 

Other final scoring totals for Miami Trace included: Guthrie (eight), Osborne (seven), Boedeker (five) and Armstrong (four). 

As a team, Miami Trace finished with 21 two-point baskets, four 3-pointers, and they were 5-of-11 from the free-throw line. 

Hillsboro was led in scoring by Hunter and Kibler with 11 points each, followed by Davis with nine points, Howland with seven points and Burns with two points. The Indians totaled five two-point baskets, seven 3-pointers, and they went 9-of-18 from the free-throw line. 

MTHS defeated the Indians on two other occasions this season, 60-58 at HHS (Dec. 12) and 64-53 at MTHS (Feb. 13). 

In FAC play this season, MTHS won the conference with a 9-1 record in the FAC, while Hillsboro finished with a 6-4 record in the conference (third place). 

Hillsboro had one senior on the roster at the end of the season, Steven Kibler. 

“I love that kid,” Howland said of Kibler. “I tell him every day I love him. I’m going to miss him. He battled for the rebounds, especially that second half. He didn't have any quit in him, and it would have been easy to quit. 

“Steven definitely battled all the way through, and he has all season. There hasn't been a game he took off. I've never had a senior who could talk in the locker room, and he loves talking. He talked about the growth he’s had the last two years and showed appreciation for his teammates. We've been blessed to have him. We really have.”

No. 5 seeded Miami Trace will play in a sectional final game on Saturday, Feb. 23 against No. 4 seeded New Lexington at 8 p.m. in a game played at Zane Trace High School. 

      06 08 15 11 — 40
MTHS    10 16 11 22  — 59

MIAMI TRACE (59) — G.Guess 6 (1) 0-0 15, C.May 8 (1) 1-4 20, B.Armstrong 0 (1) 1-2 4, A.Boedeker 0 (1) 2-2 5, A.Guthrie 4 (0) 0-2 8, B.Osborne 3 (0) 1-1 7. TOTALS: 21 (4) 5-11 59. 

HILLSBORO (40) — T.Davis 2 (1) 2-2 9, B.Hunter 1 (3) 0-0 11, S.Kibler 2 (2) 1-4 11, N.Burns 0 (0) 2-6 2, J.Howland 0 (1) 4-6 7. TOTALS: 5 (7) 9-18 40. 

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