Improving Ray's third-quarter surge sparks Hillgrove victory
by Carlton D. White
cwhite@mdjonline.com
January 25, 2014 01:23 AM | 1831 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hillgrove’s Colin Sexton drives past McEachern’s Logan McIntosh and to the hoop Friday night. Sexton and the Hawks beat the Indians in the battle for Powder Springs bragging rights, completing the series sweep and maintaining a slim lead over Pebblebrook for the Region 4AAAAAA lead.
<BR>Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
Hillgrove’s Colin Sexton drives past McEachern’s Logan McIntosh and to the hoop Friday night. Sexton and the Hawks beat the Indians in the battle for Powder Springs bragging rights, completing the series sweep and maintaining a slim lead over Pebblebrook for the Region 4AAAAAA lead.
Staff photo by Jeff Stanton
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POWDER SPRINGS — Hillgrove jumped out to an 8-0 lead and never trailed Friday, taking a 67-55 win at McEachern.

Keith Ray sank four 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 22 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks (17-4, 11-2 Region 4AAAAAA), who maintained a one-game lead on Pebblebrook in the region standings.

Kyle Castlin had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. B.J. Brown made three 3-pointers and had 16 points and three steals.

Both teams got off to a sluggish start, with Hillgrove taking a 16-6 first-quarter lead. Ray’s 3-pointer with 5:20 left in the second quarter put the Hawks in front by 15, but McEachern (15-4, 7-3) closed the margin to 25-18 at halftime, after Logan McIntosh drained a 3 with 53 seconds on the clock.

Aaron Bailey’s layup with 4:26 remaining in the third period put the Hawks ahead by 10 for the second time in the period, but McIntosh, who scored 20 second-half points and finished with 25 for the game, nailed back-to-back 3-pointers during a 12-5 run that narrowed the gap to 42-39 with 1:50 left in the quarter.

That’s as close as McEachern would get the rest of the way.

Ray played a huge role for the Hawks in their 23-point third quarter. He sank three 3-pointers and scored 11 points, with each shot helping to stave off the Indians’ rally. He answered McIntosh’s 3 with one of his own to put Hillgrove in front 45-39, and Brown, who had eight points in the third quarter, hit a 3 with 25 seconds left to give the Hawks a 48-41 cushion to start the fourth period.

“Since Christmas, Keith’s been getting better and better with his shooting,” Hillgrove coach Ed Morris said. “Every time McEachern made a big play, (Keith) made a big play right back.

“The kids really kept their composure even throughout the game. McEachern made a great rally, which we knew they would, but the guys remained calm and played well.”

Lawrence Castor, who had six points, six rebounds and two steals for the Indians, made a layup with 6:40 left in the contest to make the score 50-44.

But Antonio Wade drained a free throw and Brown connected on a 3-pointer to ignite a 7-0 run that put the Hawks ahead by 13 at the 5-minute mark.

McEachern, however, wasn’t done trying to make a comeback. McIntosh nailed the last of his four 3-pointers with 3:34 on the clock to trim the deficit to 58-49. Freddy Brown, who had 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals, made a layup, and Castor hit two free throws, leaving Hillgrove with a 58-53 lead with 2½ minutes remaining.

The teams exchanged free throws on their next two possessions, and Hillgrove went 7-of-8 from the line in the final minute to preserve the victory.

Three days after dropping a game to Pebblebrook, McEachern has suffered consecutive losses for the first time this season. The Indians are third in the region, with Marietta right behind.

Hillgrove, meanwhile, has momentum on its side, having not lost a region game since early December, but a trip to Pebblebrook awaits for Tuesday.

“The free throws at the end of the game were huge for us,” Morris said. “This is a tough region, night in and night out. It’s not easy to win on the road, but the guys stayed focus, and we’re playing well towards the end of the season gearing up for the region tournament.”
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Basketball Fan
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January 25, 2014
Great Game. It's been a while since I've been to a high school regular season basketball game with that many fans in attendance. Great fan support from both schools. Although I was cheering for McEachern, Hillgrove played a good game. Everytime McEachern would make a run...the one kid from Hillgrove answered with the 3pt shot. Good Luck to both teams!!!

P.S...McEachern, I've seen your last three home games... with all of those atheletic looking boys you have on the floor and bench, why don't you push the tempo more. Seem like that's when you score the most.
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