HILLCREST 66, LONE TREE 44

Hillcrest tops Lone Tree for 7th straight victory

Ravens forward Grant Bender scores career-high 26 points

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 1/6/22

LONE TREE

Lone Tree’s Lions were confident, speedy and ready.

Coming off their first road win of the season Monday at Midland, the Lions greeted Hillcrest Academy witb a full-court …

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HILLCREST 66, LONE TREE 44

Hillcrest tops Lone Tree for 7th straight victory

Ravens forward Grant Bender scores career-high 26 points

Posted

LONE TREE

Lone Tree’s Lions were confident, speedy and ready.

Coming off their first road win of the season Monday at Midland, the Lions greeted Hillcrest Academy witb a full-court pressure defense in their Southeast Iowa Super Conference game Tuesday night. Seven minutes into the opening quarter, Lone Tree held a three-point lead.

That’s precisely when HIllcrest junior forward Grant Bender began a career night.

Bender popped outside the perimeter to drill a 3-pointer with a minute left in the quarter to tie the game at 17 and then ended the quarter with a reverse layup for a two-point HIllcrest lead. The Lions never led again.

Bender scored a career-high 26 points and had a team-high 9 rebounds, leading the Ravens to their seventh consecutive victory, 69-44.

The win set up a showdown against Winfield-Mt. Union on Friday night. The Ravens (7-1 overall) are 6-1 in the conference and W-MU is 7-0.

“Winfield’s playing really well, undefeated in the conference. It’s a huge game,” Hillcrest coach Dwight Gingerich said.

The Ravens have not lost since their season opener against Mediapolis, but Tuesday’s win at Lone Tree was much tougher than the 22-point margin suggested. It wasn’t until late in the second quarter, when Hillcrest ended the first half with an eight-point run, that the Ravens began to pull away from the Lions (3-7).

“We found a flow, got some momentum,” Gingerich said. “We put together some runs.”

Cade Shield, a senior, led Lone Tree with 16 points. Senior guard Adam Knock added 7 points.

A basket by Shield put the Lions in front, 17-14, late in the first quarter and another Shield hoop kept the Lions within two, 25-23, in the second quarter.

But the Ravens ended the second quarter on a 14-4 run and went ahead by 15, 52-37, by the end of the third quarter. Hillcrest held Lone Tree to 10 points in both the second and third quarters.

“They’re a good defensive team,” Lone Tree coach Tom Squiers said of the Ravens. “They play really well together.”

Junior guard Luke Schrock added 16 points and 5 rebounds for Hillcrest. Josiah Beachy had 7 points and 6 rebounds.

The Ravens are without senior guard Noah Miller, who tore an ACL before Christmas and is now lost for the season.

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