The Hillsboro boys varsity basketball team enters the Christmas break with a 6-2 record after defeating Jefferson, 63-54, Saturday at the JCAA Shootout. The Hawks rebounded from a slow start that saw the team trailing at halftime in the game played at Jefferson College.
“We started off cold and weren’t making smart plays in the first half,” Ethan Worley pointed out. Garrett Pinkley said essentially the same thing. “It was rough at the beginning, not getting any 50/50 loose balls,” he said. And while the Hawks were guilty of all that, credit the Blue Jays for taking Hillsboro off their game.
Hillsboro led 16-15 after the first quarter thanks to Mark Moore and Evan Worley, who combined for 11 points. But the second quarter saw the Hawks cool down, while Jefferson took off, outscoring Hillsboro by eight. By halftime, Jefferson held a 35-28 lead. So the Hawks went back to basics.
“We focused on defense in the third quarter,” Pinkley stated, “and that put everything together for the rest of the game.” The Hawks turned the tables after coming out from the break. Moore pumped in seven points, the Hillsboro defense clamped down, and by quarter’s end, Hillsboro was back on top, 47-44. Evan Worley then went to work at the free throw line in the fourth quarter, connecting on all six of his charity tosses to preserve and extend the lead. The Jefferson offense managed just 19 points in the second half. “After halftime we all came together and played great defense in the third quarter to give us the lead,” Ethan Worley said. “And then we kept the same energy and intensity in the fourth.”
Evan Worley had a game. He led the team with 18 points, his free throws were crucial in the fourth, he grabbed ten rebounds, and he blocked five shots. Moore wasn’t bad either, dropping 15 points while dishing off four assists, and collecting seven rebounds. Both Ethan Worley and Logan Smith had ten points, while Eric Schneider and Pinkley had five points each.
Ethan Worley said that the season has already been a learning experience. “This season is going good,” he said. “We have learned a lot about each other, and we have grown very close over these past few months to really help us on this start of the season.” Pinkley added that the team will have to be reckoned with. “We have a few tough losses this year so far, but we are getting better every day in practice. We still have some room to grow and get better. We haven’t reached our full potential yet, and it’s going to be exciting when we do.”
The Hawks will get a few days off before they start play in the 64th Annual Bob Sechrest Jr. Central Christmas Tournament. Hillsboro, the #3 seed, will play on Friday against #14 Perryville at 7:00 p.m.