An all-KCII area battle Friday night saw the Hillcrest Academy boys basketball team put together a late comeback to beat the Winfield-Mt. Union Wolves 38-36. It was the Ravens that got out to the fast start, leading 12-5 at the end of one quarter and 22-16 at the break in the defensive slugfest. Out of the half, the Wolves dug in even more on the defensive end, using that effort to spur a 14-2 run that spanned the entire third quarter, holding a 30-24 lead going to the fourth. WMU was still up seven with four minutes remaining before the Ravens turned it on late to take the win. Hillcrest got big free throws down the stretch from John Hughes, who was four of four at the line in the final minutes and a jumper from Eli Ours in the last 20 seconds to give them the lead for good. Hillcrest Raven head coach Dwight Gingerich talked about his team’s play in the important minutes down the stretch. “It was a dramatic finish. We were down seven and able to come back. We got to the rim late and Eli Ours got it to go to put us up one with around 15 seconds left. They got one final deep shot from between the three point line and half court that didn’t fall and there was no time for an offensive rebound. I told the guys I was really proud of how they hung in there and fought when things were not looking good. Down the stretch we had Luke Schrock, Grant Bender, Eli Ours, John Hughes and Aaron Hershberger on the floor. We were able to defend where we needed to be, but I didn’t feel like it was there for the full night. It was there early and again late, but not as consistently as we want. Fortunately we got enough shots to fall. It was great to see John Hughes who has improved his free throw shooting all season, you can see it in practice come through down the stretch. He was gold, four of four at the line. Just what we needed.”
The Ravens were led by Ours and his game high 19 points. Cam Buffington had 22 points to lead the Wolves. With the win, Hillcrest is now 5-4 and winners of three straight. The Wolves fall to 4-3. The Ravens host Danville Saturday in Kalona. You can hear all of the action live, beginning with the Washington HyVee Pregame Show at 4p.m. with tip at 4:30. Winfield-Mt. Union is next on the floor this afternoon against Holy Trinity Catholic.