Brock Netter, Staff Writer
HILLSBORO — Hillsboro is still figuring things out along the way, but its racking up victories while doing so.
The Indians put on a shooting display, burying 11 3-point field goals on Friday night while shooting 20-of-28 at the free throw line. Those numbers helped the team notch its biggest win of its season to date, a 73-64 victory over Jackson.
Not only did Hillsboro clinch the 10th win of its season, but it also moved into a first-place tie with the Ironmen atop the FAC standings.
“This group, led by nine seniors absolutely willed themselves to this win tonight,” Hillsboro coach Miles Burton said. “Every single person did their job and I couldn’t be more proud of them. We’re in an unfamiliar spot not just being tied in the FAC, but being in big-game situations like this. We learned from the first time we played Jackson and remembered that feeling of crumbling. We rose to the challenge this time around.”
Two of those seniors were right in the middle of the shooting storm as Ryan Scott and Lawton Parry showed no fear in letting it fly.
Scott drilled five 3’s, including three in the second quarter while also making the right decision late in the game to help seal the win as he finished with 24 points and four rebounds.
Parry came off the bench, bringing energy and doing damage. He drilled four triples and was a perfect 7-of-7 at the line, ending with a career-high 23 points.
“Ryan can score at any moment, but I was really impressed with his defense,” Burton said. “He did a great job of guarding [Drew] Bragg, who is an excellent player and limited his impact. Lawton was incredible from shooting outside, but also making his free throws. Just unbelievable games by those two, alongside everyone else who saw the floor.”
Hillsboro started out with a quick 5-0 lead, but Jackson’s Boston Kuhn quickly erased that and caught a hot hand.
With Jackson (8-2, 4-1 FAC) trailing 9-6, Kuhn went to a different level and scored 14 straight points as Hillsboro had no answers and trailed 23-13 after the first.
Jackson continued to hold a double-digit lead, but as Kuhn went cold, Scott began heating up. He buried consecutive 3’s and Parry swished one to cut the lead to 32-27.
After an Ironmen turnover, Scott nailed his third triple of the frame to end the half, but Jackson remained ahead 37-33.
Hillsboro (10-2, 4-1 FAC) sensed it was time to make its move, and went off to the races. Scott, Parry and Hunter Price combined to go on an 11-1 run that gave the Indians a 45-40 lead, one they wouldn’t relinquish for the rest of the night.
“Jackson just played on Wednesday, and we could see that they were starting to get a little worn out,” Burton said. “We’re a physical team that’s going to lean on you all night. But also Ryan and Quinton [Captain] did a great job defensively guarding Kuhn and Bragg. We forced some turnovers and got out in transition which is when we’re at our best.”
Jackson still battled, but couldn’t get any buckets to fall as five-point leads turned into eight-points leads before ultimately becoming a 63-51 game.
But the Ironmen were still breathing as Braxton Hammond spearheaded a 7-0 run to bring the game back to within five points. However, Captain connected from distance on the next possession that proved to be the knockout blow for Hillsboro.
“We had a lot of similar shots in the first quarter that we finally hit in the third quarter, and we sustained that momentum and energy,” Burton said. “We’ve set lofty goals for ourselves and one of them is being league champions for the first time in 10 years. These guys have the will to win. Now it’s up to us coaches to keep them on the rails and put them in positions to continue winning.”
Following Scott and Parry, Captain ended with nine points while Price had seven points, 13 rebounds and six assists.
Kuhn finished with 15 points for Jackson, followed by 13 points from Tristan Prater and 12 points with six rebounds from Hammond.
Hillsboro returns to action on Saturday at home against Unioto, while Jackson aims to get back in the win column on Friday at Washington.
Jackson: 23-14-9-18 — 64
Hillsboro: 13-20-17-23 — 73
Jackson: 24-51 FG, 10-18 FT, 6-19 3pt., 26 rebounds (Bragg 9), 8 turnovers, 9 assists (Spires 4). Scoring: Kuhn 15, Prater 13, Hammond 12, Spires 7, Bragg 7, Blankenship 5, Erwin 5.
Hillsboro: 21-46 FG, 20-28 FT, 11-25 3pt., 27 rebounds (Price 13), 6 turnovers, 11 assists (Price 6). Scoring: Scott 24, Parry 23, Captain 9, Price 7, Miller 5, Clark 3, Hunter 2.