Late runs propel Hillcrest in back-to-back thrillers

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On Friday, the 4-4 Ravens were down by nine points with five minutes left. 

On Saturday, they trailed by 10 at the same point. By Sunday, they were 6-4.

You could call it a comeback. 

Hillcrest defeated Winfield-Mt. Union 38-36 and Danville 51-49, extending its winning streak to four games. 

“I think it says there’s a lot of resilience, determination and togetherness with this group,” Hillcrest coach Dwight Gingerich said after the weekend. 

John Hughes, who was on the floor in that fourth  quarter against Danville, told Gingerich that he loved the encouragement from the bench through that stretch. 

“The support for one another is very present and cool to see,” Gingerich said. 

The Ravens faced a 49-39 deficit on Saturday when Noah Miller hit a 3-pointer against the zone with 4:37 left.  

Hughes hit the game-tying free throws with 90 seconds left, and with 15 seconds on the clock Aaron Hershberger put the Ravens ahead after an offensive rebound. 

Miller, who had not hit a 3-pointer since the first game of the season, made both of shots from outside. He had six points of his nine points during Hillcrest’s game-ending 12-0 run. 

“This was an incredible effort by our guys to work together to come back against a very good team,” Gingerich said. “We had too many turnovers through the first three quarters, and I credit Danville for some of that, with their length and aggressiveness. We responded much better late and that really helped us.”

Hughes was 7-9 and led the Ravens with 16 points. Eli Ours had 10 points and eight assists.

Grant Bender used a pump fake and one dribble to create space for a long 2-point shot, which pulled Hillcrest within four. He finished with seven points and three assists. 

Hershberger’s only points came on his game-winning shot. He also  grabbed a team-high six rebounds. 

Brent Moore’s power rankings favored Danville by over 23 points heading into the contest. 

The Bears have lost three of four since a 5-0 start. Hillcrest has won all four games in 2021 after starting the season 2-4. 

 

Ravens come back at WMU

Hillcrest took advantage of missed free throws to come back against Winfield-Mt. Union on Friday. The Ravens were down by eight points with four minutes left, Eli Ours scored eight points during a 12-2 run to close the game. 

Hughes went 4-4 at the free throw line during that stretch and pulled the Ravens within a point with 30 seconds remaining. 

Ours drove left, and from just outside the lane, threw a running shot off the glass to give Hillcrest a one-point lead with 23 seconds left. 

“Eli showed a ton of grit late and so did John, hitting big free throws and grabbing some big rebounds. Our guys did a great job staying together down the stretch and I’m so happy it worked out for them after a rough stretch. 

“Winfield has been playing very well and was a game ahead of us in conference play, so this is a really good road win in conference play.”

The Wolves were unable to get a single point from three 1-and-1 opportunities at the foul line in the fourth quarter. 

Ours was 4-6 at the foul line and led Hillcrest with 19 points and four assists. Hughes scored eight points while Bender had seven points and three steals. Hershberger led the Ravens on the glass with eight rebounds. 

WMU was led by a pair of outstanding freshmen. Cam Buffington scored 22 points and 6-foot-5 Abram Edwards had nine points and four blocked shots.  

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