Hillsboro senior Stefan Hassell prepares to take a free throw against Crystal City on Tuesday in the opening round of the 62nd annual Bob Sechrest Jr. Christmas Tournament.
Russell Korando photo
By Russell Korando
Hillsboro was 10-0 when it lost its first game of the 2016-2017 season. The Hawks’ first loss was to Farmington in the championship of the Bob Sechrest Jr. Christmas Tournament.
After trouncing Crystal City 62-27 Tuesday night in the first round of the 62nd annual Sechrest tournament in the T.J. Foulon Fieldhouse at Park Hills Central, Hillsboro improved to 9-0 this season. The Hawks are the top seed in the 16-team boys field and play Potosi on Thursday in the quarterfinals.
The Hawks didn’t show any rust after not playing a game for a week and being off over the Christmas break. Hillsboro head coach Dan Johnson said he put his undefeated team through a workout before Tuesday’s game to see how they’d respond.
“Anytime you take several days off in row, it always concerns me what kind of shape you’re in,” Johnson said. “But we got them in early (Tuesday) morning and got them going up and down and they looked pretty fresh today.”
Neutralizing Crystal City senior Brady DeGeare is the focus of any of the Hornets’ opponents, and other than a 3-point basket to end the first half, the Hawks didn’t let DeGeare dictate the play offensively.
“Our plan was to establish ourselves defensively and try to keep the ball out of DeGeare’s hands as much as possible,” Johnson said. “I thought we did that until right before halftime.”
With a 30-point-plus lead and running clock in the second half, Johnson flushed out his bench and gave some valuable playing time to his non-starters. Before being relieved, senior forward Gaven Pinkley led the Hawks with a modest 11 points and junior forward Michael Brewer snared 10 rebounds, but the scoring was spread out. Senior reserve Trey Craig made all four shots from the field and finished with 10 points.
“We only have 10 players dressed for this tournament because we have players in a JV tournament at Herculaneum,” Johnson said. “Everybody got a lot of minutes and I thought Trey Craig was real good tonight coming off the bench.”
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