Columbus had two players combine for 27 points in the first half, slicing up the Hillcrest Academy defense. A key defensive change won the Ravens the game.
“We knew he was hurting us, so we decided to go to a triangle and two (defense),” Hillcrest Academy guard Noah Miller said. “…It shuts the guy who is hurting us down and forces other people to make plays.”
Hillcrest Academy (4-4) was trailing Columbus (0-9) went on to win the game 57-52 over the Wildcats despite digging themselves a hole early.
“I was proud of our guys for grinding out the win despite being down like we were. They had momentum and it was hard for us to knock down shots early,” Hillcrest Academy coach Dwight Gingerich said.
It was an early deficit for the Ravens as they were down 9-2 early. They fought back early in the first quarter and finished it off by making three straight baskets at the end to trail only 15-13.
The game remained close at half with Columbus taking a 29-28 lead. Columbus had Eric Valdez and Brody Frost score 27 of their points in the first half. Everything was falling for the pair as Frost hit three 3-pointers and Valdez was hitting from deep as well.
The third quarter was a different story as Frost cooled off and the defensive adjustment on Valdez forced Columbus to look for another option. That dry streak for Columbus allowed Hillcrest Academy to take a lead and build it throughout the third quarter.
The Ravens were up 43-34 after three quarters with Eli Ours sinking a 3-pointer and Kobe Borntrager driving to the hoop to build the lead to nine after three.
Columbus closed the lead in the fourth, with the Ravens leading by four with 4:35 left. Eli Ours nailed his free throws down the stretch to keep the lead in favor of the Ravens. Ours went 7-9 from the charity stripe and John Hughes also added a 7-9 performance. The Ravens were 18-28 as a team.
Borntrager iced the game with 26.6 seconds left with a pair of free throws to finish with 21 points on a 9-13 effort from the floor.
London Schrock grabbed seven rebounds and had seven steals to go along with four points. Eli Ours dished out five assists and grabbed four steals.
“Schrock had some key offensive rebounds for us and John Hughes comes through with a big bucket inside late,” Gingerich said. “It felt like everybody did some good things to contribute. It wasn’t a real pretty win, but we’ll take our first road win of the year.”
The Ravens moved to 4-3 overall and in conference play with the win.
New London 53, Hillcrest Academy 34
The Ravens struggled to find their offense against a stout New London squad in a SEISC crossover on Saturday afternoon.
The two teams were evenly matched through the first quarter and New London had a 14-8 lead after one. The second and early third quarters were all New London.
The Tigers led 29-14 at the half and in the early part of the third quarter had extended the lead to 38-14.
After that point the Ravens went on a 13-3 run, but it was too late to make the full comeback.
“We struggled to find a good rhythm, and when we finally found it we played well,” Ravens coach Dwight Gingerich said. “Credit to New London, their quickness and length bothered us. Turning the ball over 19 times and shooting 34% makes it tough.”
Eli Ours led the team with 13 points on the night.