(March 3rd, 2015) – PAULDING: There are few things in sports sweeter than taking down a rival. Doing so in the postseason would qualify, however.
That’s the opportunity both North Central and Hilltop attempted to realize as the two faced off in the first round of Sectional play. As one would expect, the contest was a highly competitive one. In the end however, it was the boys from Pioneer who came out on top with a tight victory.
The Eagles edged out the Cadets 57-55.
North Central earned the slightest of advantages coming out of the first quarter. They claimed the period as their own, thanks to an 11-10 effort. With that momentum, the Eagle boys built on that lead in the second stanza, expanding their lead to 4 points from their 14-11 showing. With the first half finished, Hilltop was staring at a 25-21 deficit.
With a solid gap separating the two squads, the Cadets struggled to catch up in the third frame. They fell further behind as North Central outscored them 16-9 in the period. Looking at an 11 point margin to overcome with just one quarter left to play, Hilltop had a lot of work to do if they had any dreams of victory. While not an impossible obstacle, the 41-30 score looked a bit bleak for the Cadet boys.
Then the West Unity boys erupted for 25 points in the fourth period. That incredible burst of offensive output placed Hilltop squarely back in the game. However, the Eagles put up another 16 point quarter to close out the homestretch. This allowed them to maintain just enough of their lead to walk off the court victorious with a 2 point win.
A strong evening for the North Central seniors made the difference in this contest. Jordan Reeves led the charge, producing 13 points, including a three-pointer. Fellow fourth year player Jordan Bailey drilled a pair of triples on his way to 10 points, while Josh Sawyer, yet another senior for the Eagles, also connect on 2 threes to propel him to 9 points.
Sophomore Steven Williams was also a big part of the North Central offense. Making 9 of 10 free throw attempts, he put up 11 points.
Hilltop’s seniors also performed quite admirably in their final game for the school. Colin Sabins had a massive evening, knocking down a trio of threes as he totaled a game high 17 points. Classmate Erik Stipe came off the bench for 14 points, and senior Jalen Towers earned 9 points.
Also like North Central, a sophomore carried a sizable portion of the scoring burden for the Cadets as well. Tim Maneval launched 3 successful long range shots, giving him 9 points in the loss.