Despite valiant effort Ravens fall to Lynnville-Sully Hawks in playoff semifinals

By Giovanni Coronel
Posted 2/22/23

It was a tall task for the Ravens to head on the road and topple the Lynnville-Sully Hawks, a team with only two losses, in the Class 1A, District 6 semifinals but it was one they welcomed with open …

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Despite valiant effort Ravens fall to Lynnville-Sully Hawks in playoff semifinals


It was a tall task for the Ravens to head on the road and topple the Lynnville-Sully Hawks, a team with only two losses, in the Class 1A, District 6 semifinals but it was one they welcomed with open arms. 

Despite a Ravens rally in the second half that made it dicey for the Hawks down the stretch, Lynnville-Sully was able to weather the storm and take a 56-48 victory over Hillcrest on February 17.  

“We were in it all the way to the end. I was proud of them for that,” Hillcrest head coach Dwight Gingerich told KCII after the game about his team. “Really appreciative of the effort and the maturity and the growth through the season of these guys, it’s been really a terrific group.”

“We got better as the season wound down. We were playing our best basketball at the end of the year and that’s what you always want to see. There’s a lot of growth within this team, individually and as a group.”

Taking the initiative Hillcrest took the first lead of the game with the first points of the game courtesy of sophomore Seth Ours. After the Hawks responded with a two-pointer of its own to tie the game Hillcrest senior Luke Schrock would score while getting fouled and then make the corresponding free throw to finish the three-point play. 

This three-point Ravens lead would be its largest lead of the game. Before the quarter ended they would lose the lead after five-straight Lynnville-Sully points and Hillcrest would have to play catch-up for the rest of the game. 

Schrock opened the second quarter with a quick basket to cut the deficit to three points, but the Hawks would bolster its lead by going on a 5-0 run, which caused Gingerich to take a timeout. 

The timeout would prove to be effective since Schrock was able to connect on a three-pointer once play began again.

At this point of the game it became noticeable that the leading scorer for Hillcrest, senior Grant Bender, has been held to zero points so far and this can be credited to the defensive game plan of the Hawks. 

“[Lynnville-Sully] length and physicality affected us. They had size on us at every position,” Gingerich said about the defense of the Hawks. “They also kept an extra man or two in Grant’s area and came after him when he had the ball.”

The Hillcrest defense was playing well too but too many empty possessions after quality defensive plays made it so the Ravens were unable to climb out of the deficit they were in. 

As the quarter came to a close Schrock would hit on another three-pointer, but the Hawks would quickly respond with a three-pointer of its own, giving them a eight point advantage at halftime. 

All 19 of Hillcrest’s halftime points came from Ours and Schrock. 

After halftime the Hawks would score first, giving them its first double digit lead of the game.

Now trailing by ten points the Ravens would then score four consecutive points, made by Schrock and Ours, making the Hawks aware they had no intention of giving in so easily. 

The Hawks would score the next basket with a mid-range shot, but the Ravens would respond in a big way, scoring five straight points to cut the lead down to three. 

Those five points came from a lay-up by Ours and a three-pointer from senior Jace Rempel. Rempel’s three-pointer, the first points Hillcrest scored by someone not  named Ours or Schrock, caused the bench and the Hillcrest faithful who made the trip to Sully to erupt with raucous cheers. 

Near the end of the third quarter with about ten seconds left Bender would also get in on the Hillcrest scoring by making his first basket of the night.

The Ravens would outscore the Hawks, 14-12, in the third quarter to only trail by six with one more quarter to play. A big reason Hillcrest was able to accomplish this was thanks to the defensive adjustments they made at halftime. 

“We went back to our man-to-man defense. We started out in it but had some trouble containing their big man and also picked up some early fouls,” Gingerich said about his team’s impressive quarter. “We did a much better job in the third quarter, stayed out of foul trouble and were able to contain their three point shooting much more effectively.”

Starting off the final frame of the game with a bang Schrock would immediately find success from three-point range to pull the Ravens within three.

It was a rowdy atmosphere in the fourth that could only be caused by two teams playing quality playoff basketball. 

Taking back control the Hawks would go on a 12-4 run, those four points for Hillcrest being scored by Bender who was now starting to find a rhythm on offense.   

Trailing by 11 with under two minutes of play left, the Ravens had to rely on fouling to get the ball back, and hoped the Hawks would miss its free throws.

With about 46 seconds left in the game Ours would make two free throws to bring the score to 52-44, the Hawks still leading. In the following Lynnville-Sully possession they would step out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Ravens.

Now with the ball the Ravens missed its initial shot attempt, but senior Josiah Beachy rebounded the ball and scored while getting a fouled, sending him to the line for a potential three-point play. 

Beachy was able to connect on his shot from the charity stripe but a lane violation would make it not count. 

On the Hawks next possession they would turn over the ball again, this time because of a travel. A combination of Lynnville-Sully not connecting on all of its free throws in the fourth quarter and careless turnovers made it so Hillcrest still had a chance even with under 40 seconds left. 

Bender would score on the following Ravens possession to make the game 52-48, but this would be the last field goal Hillcrest would make. 

After the Hawks scored four more points from the free-throw line the game would finish and Hillcrest’s season would come to an end.

Lynnville-Sully is a team that averaged nearly 70 points a game and Hillcrest was able to hold them to 52, a commendable feat. 

Hillcrest finishes the season with a 12-11 record. This will be the last game seniors Luke Schrock, Jace Rempel, Josiah Beachy, and Grant Bender will play for the Ravens. 

“I am proud of the effort on our guys’ part. They stayed at it and did not quit and it felt like we ran out of time, as we were getting closer right to the end until we had to foul,” Gingerich said. “We kept our poise and they stayed together, which gave us a chance.”


Hillcrest Academy 48, Lynnville-Sully 40


        8       11      14       15    --  48


      13       14      12       17    --  56

Hillcrest scoring: Luke Schrock 19, Seth Ours 16, Grant Bender 8

LS scoring: Mitchell Miller 14, Preston Rodibaugh 13, Klayton Van Dyke 12