Hillcrest stayed within a few points of visiting Wapello for three-and-a-half quarters, but couldn’t solve the Indian defense in a 53-42 loss on Friday.
“They were pretty extended and very aggressive, very active in their zone,” Hillcrest coach Dwight Gingerich said.
“They have length and those long arms got some deflections and made it difficult for us. It took us a little time just to find our way through on a number of possessions, it shortens the game a little bit, and not as many shots are going up.“
Hillcrest trailed by as many as seven points in the third quarter, but came back to cut the lead to 38-36 midway through the fourth on an inside bucket from John Hughes.
Wapello answered with a pair of buckets and went on a 15-4 run, taking advantage of some easy layup opportunities after breaking the Hillcrest press in the final minutes.
Eli Ours scored five of the Ravens’ nine points in the third quarter to keep Hillcrest within three points. Ours finished with a team-high 17 points and Hughes had 12.
Noah Miller and Aaron Hershberger each added six.
Wapello’s Maddox Griffin finished with a game-high 22 points.
“In spite of some of the mistakes we made, I also thought there were some positive flashes, things that I feel good about,” Gingerich said. “I thought interior post players defended well for the most part.
“Some good things to build on. With a little more time we’ll figure out for sure who belongs where. We’ve got a couple guys who have missed quite a bit of time trying to find their way in and I think probably a lot of teams are dealing with that. I think as we get a little more confident with what are roles are exactly, that’ll help too.”
Hillcrest falls to 1-1 for the season.
Wapello, who defeated Columbus 81-34 on Tuesday, stays tied for first in SEISC North play with Pekin, a 61-41 winner at Mediapolis on Friday.