CHILLICOTHE — The Miami Trace Panthers and Hillsboro Indians met for the third time this season as they began Sectional tournament play at Southeastern High School near Chillicothe Tuesday evening.
During the regular season, as Frontier Athletic Conference rivals, the Indians had won at Miami Trace on Dec. 14, 59-47 and, in the game played at Hillsboro High School, that contest went to the Indians, 42-38 on Jan. 25.
The Indians were able to sweep the season series with a 49-38 victory Tuesday.
Hillsboro (now 11-12 on the season) will return to Southeastern H.S. for a Sectional championship game against the No. 1-seeded Zane Trace Pioneers Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Indians turned in a defensive effort that helped lead to 22 Miami Trace turnovers.
It was a case of the defense sparking the offense as Hillsboro converted those turnovers into 21 points.
Hillsboro had a trio in double figures, led by seniors Mason Swayne and Ethan Watson, each with 13 points, tops in the game.
Swayne led Hillsboro with seven rebounds and five assists. He also had two steals.
Sophomore Ryan Scott had 11 points and junior Gavin Temple scored eight.
Temple had four rebounds and senior Reece Bloomfield had four rebounds and four points.
Miami Trace sophomore Trevor Barker led his team with 12 points and senior Austin Brown had 10.
Brown blocked four shots for the Panthers and had five rebounds and Barker had three assists and a team-high seven rebounds.
Miami Trace had a promising start with junior Kyler Conn hitting two and Mathews scoring from behind the arc.
Hillsboro answered with six points and then the lead changed hands four times before the Indians found themselves in front, 17-10 at the end of the first quarter.
From that seven-point margin, the Indians were able to build their lead to as many as 15 points midway through the second quarter.
The Panthers chipped away with some late period scoring, but Hillsboro held a 28-18 halftime advantage.
The teams took a few possessions to get their respective offenses going in the third quarter.
Swayne and Barker traded threes and Swayne also had an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Indians back up by 15 with seconds remaining in the third.
Barker had an offensive rebound (one of his five on the night) and scored right at the last to make it 40-27 Hillsboro with eight minutes remaining.
Miami Trace got to within eight points a couple of times, but that early margin held up for the Indians and the Panthers could draw no closer.
Hillsboro scored 16 points off of 15 Miami Trace turnovers in the first half.
“I absolutely thought that was the difference in the game for us, our pressure,” Hillsboro head coach Bruce Miles said. “We did a great job in the full court of turning Miami Trace over.
“Credit to our guys,” Miles said. “We had a game plan that we worked on all week and we came out and executed defensively.
“We got off to a slow start, offensively,” Miles said. “I thought we took some poor shots. We weren’t very patient in the half court, but we turned our defense into offense.”
“We had prepared for that diamond press,” Miami Trace head coach Rob Pittser said. “We knew exactly what was coming, so, for us to turn the ball over so frequently there against it, and in a fashion we haven’t seen us do in the last six or eight games, it was a little frustrating.
“That was due a little bit to tournament nerves and excitement,” Pittser said. “(We have) a lot of first-year kids in a one-and-done type of environment.
“Give the Hillsboro kids credit,” Pittser said. “They were playing hard, they were playing aggressive.
“We were sticking with the scheme and the plan and we were getting good shots,” Pittser said. “For whatever reason, we couldn’t get the ball to go in the hole.
“The kids battled all the way through,” Pittser said. “It’s just so difficult when you have trouble scoring the ball through stretches, you get down double figures. We were looking for that one run and we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
The Panthers say thank you and good-bye to two seniors: Austin Brown and Austin Mathews.
“We hate to lose the seniors,” Pittser said. “These are great kids, program kids. I can remember both of them all the way back to third and fourth grade, through our elementary camps and programs. They have committed so much to the program and our kids respect them.”
Pittser ended his comments by thanking the media and thanking the people of Fayette County who made the new high school possible.
“All the taxpayers who have made (the new school possible), (it’s) a great place to work. We thank you very much,” Pittser said.
Miami Trace ends the 2018-19 season with a record of 3-20.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
H 17 11 12 9 — 49
MT 10 8 9 11 — 38
HILLSBORO — Mason Swayne 3 (2)-1-13; Ethan Watson 5-3-13; Ryan Scott 3 (1)-2-11; Gavin Temple 1 (2)-0-8; Reece Bloomfield 2-0-4; Brad Miller 0-0-0; Coltin Hunter 0-0-0; Nick Lewis 0-0-0; Hunter Price 0-0-0; Shane Sullivan 0-0-0; Blake Tira 0-0-0. TOTALS — 14 (5)-6-49. Free throw shooting: 6 of 7 for 85 percent. Three-point field goals: Swayne, 2; Temple, 2; Scott. Field goal shooting: 19 of 50 for 38 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 5 of 19 for 26 percent. Rebounds: 23 (6 offensive). Assists: 8. Steals: 10. Blocks: 1. Turnovers: 14. Personal fouls: 13. Bench points: 8. Second chance points: 5. Points off turnovers: 21.
MIAMI TRACE — Trevor Barker 1 (2)-4-12; Austin Brown 3-4-10; Dylan Bernard 1 (1)-0-5; Austin Mathews 0 (1)-0-3; Kyler Conn 1-0-2; Logan Rodgers 1-0-2; Bo Little 1-0-2; Braden Osborne 1-0-2; Cameron Moore 0-0-0; Ethan Steele 0-0-0; Cody Brightman 0-0-0; Hayden Hunter 0-0-0. TOTALS — 9 (4)-8-38. Free throw shooting: 8 of 10 for 80 percent. Three-point field goals: Barker, 2; Bernard, Mathews. Field goal shooting: 13 of 40 for 32 percent. Three-point field goal shooting: 4 of 19 for 21 percent. Rebounds: 29 (10 offensive). Assists: 9. Steals: 7. Blocks: 5. Turnovers: 22. Personal fouls: 13. Bench points: 9. Second chance points: 4. Points off turnovers: 7.
Stats provided all season long by Miami Trace assistant coach Cory Patton. Thank you.