Hillcrest’s Schrock, Bender dazzle in win over Wapello

By TJ Rhodes
Posted 2/8/23

The Wapello Indians were running away with it.

Hillcrest, down by three after one and five after two, were getting little production from players not named Luke Schrock, who scored the first eight …

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Hillcrest’s Schrock, Bender dazzle in win over Wapello


The Wapello Indians were running away with it.

Hillcrest, down by three after one and five after two, were getting little production from players not named Luke Schrock, who scored the first eight and 12 total in the first half.

The Ravens knew at halftime that something needed to give.

Coming out of the locker room, the Ravens were playing with newfound energy, flying up and down the court. The shots began to come in waves, carried by seniors Schrock and Grant Bender, who combined for 50 of the 63 Raven points on the night (Schrock with 27 and Bender with 23).

The first half was sluggish. But with the leadership of the two, the Ravens flocked to life and not only took the lead, they flew away with it, winning 63-38 and sweeping Wapello on the year.

“The first half was a struggle,” Ravens head coach Dwight Gingerich said. “We weren’t really able to get into our pressure, we weren’t scoring and [Wapello] was moving the ball and were knocking down shots. Felt like we were just not playing with a lot of energy.”

Bender, standing at six-foot-three, made the tightly contested shots underneath the rim, while hitting all eight of his free throw chances.

“It’s been so good to see Grant’s free throw shooting come along. During the season it was a struggle, he’s stayed with it, we’ve worked with it and right now, it feels really good,” Gingerich said.

Schrock on the other hand, absolutely dictated play for all four quarters. He was consistently blocking, stealing Wapello passes, single handedly stampeding the net, drawing five penalties, hitting eight of ten free throw shots, a very important stat of the night.

“[Luke] just really mixed it up, he’s a slasher, he was so active defensively, really at both ends of the floor he played very well, played with a lot of heart and just gave us a huge boost tonight,” Gingerich said.

Something about this game felt familiar. Maybe it’s because Schrock had another dominant performance last year in Wapello, leading with 18 in another come-from-behind win.

Schrock is no stranger to the Wapello gym. He thrives there.

The first quarter came and went quickly. Wapello opened the scoring with a three. Schrock, set up by Bender, answered with a three. Wapello put up 4, Schrock put up another five. Wapello, led by junior Jackson Lanz, scored the last four of the quarter with few breaks in the action.

Lanz had a stressful night, despite helping in Wapello’s 38 points with ten of his own. In the second, Bender went up for a layup and made it, all while getting knocked down by Lanz. 

There was no penalty called, to the dismay of the traveling Raven fans. This was a heavy talking point at halftime. Lanz also showed his frustration in the third during a throw-in. Raven senior, Josiah Beachy, was playing aggressive defense on this throw-in and Lanz could not find someone to pass to, taking too long and losing possession. He threw the ball in frustration at Beachy after whistles blew. Again, no penalties.

The Indians in general were a frustrated team. They were controlling play and had a five-point halftime lead. In the second, they were severely outplayed and missed numerous shots that could have kept them in the game. Momentum shifted quickly.

“I told them I like how we’ve just cut that lead in half, let’s keep doing it, what we’re doing right now, you got to keep doing that, you know, we had them a little out of sorts with our pressure and they’re making some ball handling errors, so it felt like the pressure was having an effect on [Wapello],” Gingerich said.

The third saw the rise of the Ravens. Schrock started right away with a steal that led to the first points of the half. As Hillcrest battled to take the lead, Bender stole the ball and shifted to the other side of the court to get the Ravens within one. Schrock hit a two to take the lead with a 30-29 score, their first since the opening quarter.

Bender had a run of eight straight points in the third, starting with yet another steal by Schrock to start the Bender scoring streak.

Sophomore, Mason Bender, younger brother of Grant, made an excellent block on defense that sent Raven fans into a frenzy. It did lead to a penalty where Wapello hit one of two chances. Mason Bender left the game late in the fourth with an apparent eye injury.

The third ended in a Hillcrest scramble. Sophomore, Bryce Bailey, had two chances under the net and missed. Bender then set up Schrock for a three, who missed. That is when sophomore, Seth Ours, stole the ball from the crowd of players, and finished with a two-pointer before time expired.

The fourth quarter was a continuation of the second half domination by Hillcrest. They scored 21, one point less than their third quarter effort. Hillcrest hopes to finish the season strong after the dominating effort from Schrock helped them break .500 again, with a 10-9 record.

The Ravens were on the road in a matchup against Columbus (3-17) on February 7. This was the second time these two teams battled, with Hillcrest winning the first contest 65-20, on January 6.


Hillcrest 63, Wapello 38

Hillcrest             8      12       22      21    --  63

Wapello             11     14         5         8    --  38

HILLCREST SCORING: Luke Schrock 27, Grant Bender 23, Seth Ours 5.

HILLCREST REBOUNDS: Mason Bender 7, Rowan Miller 4, Grant Bender 3.

WAPELLO SCORING: Casey Short 13, Jackson Lanz 10, Carson Belzer 10.

WAPELLO REBOUNDS: Lanz 11, Short 4, Belzer 3.


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