Directly after the Hillcrest girls’ basketball team lost in the same gymnasium, the energy rose, as more people stacked into the stands and sat with no intention of leaving during play, …
Directly after the Hillcrest girls’ basketball team lost in the same gymnasium, the energy rose, as more people stacked into the stands and sat with no intention of leaving during play, prepared to stand and cheer for the home team, the Hillcrest Ravens, as they took on the Highland Huskies. Hillcrest executed a dominant performance against Highland, winning 67-13, raising its record to 7-4 as Highland dropped to 1-10.
The Ravens were not afraid to shoot from the three-point-line, as seniors, Luke Schrock and Jace Rempel each made one, helping Hillcrest jump out to a 22-0 lead after the first quarter.
Hillcrest Ravens’ coach, Dwight Gingerich, in his 41st season, believed his team started the game at a higher level than they had in their last few games.
“We played at a high level, effort wise, and that was our goal coming into the game,” Gingerich said. “I really thought all of our guys gave us that, early in the game.”
Highland opened the scoring in the second quarter with a made basket that contemplated on whether it wanted to even go through the net, rolling around the rim for what seemed to be minutes before finally falling through the net. This would be the Huskies only score of the entire half as frustration began to set in for the team which was gravely outplayed.
Huskie sophomore, Logan McFarland, channeled his frustration by spiking the ball around mid-court after play was halted for a penalty. McFarland was up and down the court, playing good defense, but his efforts were thwarted by the Ravens as a whole.
Hillcrest senior Grant Bender, continued to be their leading scorer, putting up eight points in the first half, 18 for the entire game. Bender drew numerous penalties with crafty play, scoring three points from the free-throw line.
Bender, along with Schrock and sophomore Seth Ours, were the three players coach Gingerich singled out as having impressive showings, before complementing the whole team.
“I think we were able to really apply pressure, and [Highland] did not handle that very well. We moved the ball well, we shared the ball well,” Gingerich said. “Our other guys really stepped up to hit shots to kind of take [Highland] out of that triangle two (a type of defensive play that mixes man-to-man and zone together) pretty early.”
Highland struggled against Hillcrest, but six-foot-seven junior, Nicolas Oriano, continued to show improvement as the season progressed, using his height advantage against the other boys in his defensive game. Oriano started the only real run the Huskies had all night when they outscored Hillcrest 5-2 early in the third after Oriano drew a penalty and made one of the two free throw shots.
After this, the Ravens answered quickly before Huskie senior Logan Bonebrake scored four quick points. This ended the Huskies mini run in the third. Entering the fourth, the score was 7-48 in favor of the home team.
The fourth quarter was more of the same. The Huskies scored six points whereas the Ravens scored 19. The Ravens finished the game holding onto the ball as the shot clock was greater than the game clock.
Hillcrest wins this game after a close loss against Danville, yet it is their second dominant performance in three outings, after a 20-65 win over Columbus four days prior.
Despite the controlling win, coach Gingerich still believes there is more his team can do to grow and become better throughout the rest of the season.
“We got to just continue to just grow. We got to do a better job at getting to the free throw line,” Gingerich said.
Gingerich does not want his team to just be content with staying at the perimeter, though he felt they did a better job with that in this game. Communication is another key aspect that needs work for the Ravens.
“We got to be better at communicating. We were pretty quiet out there on the floor tonight,” Gingerich said.
Next week for Hillcrest: Tuesday, January 17 @ Lone Tree, 12:30 P.M.; Friday, January 20 Vs. Louisa-Muscatine, 7:30 P.M.; Saturday, January 21 @ West Liberty, 5:00 P.M..
Next week for Highland: Tuesday, January 17 @ Louisa-Muscatine, 7:30 P.M.; Friday, January 20 Vs. Pekin, 7:30 P.M..
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