The Hillcrest Academy Ravens gained a huge road win Friday, coming from behind in dramatic fashion to defeat Winfield-Mt. Union 38-36. The Ravens trailed 34-26 with just over four minutes to play before going on a 12-2 run the rest of the way for the win.
Hillcrest jumped out to a 12-2 lead through the first quarter before the Wolves closed the period with an and-one to make it 12-5. Winfield clawed to within 22-16 at the half, and then carried the momentum into the third period to take the lead. The Wolves led 30-24 going into the final quarter and built the margin to nine at 34-25 with 5:25 to play before Hillcrest made its move.
Eli Ours scored twice and Hillcrest led 34-29 with 3:25 to play. Moments later, John Hughes drilled a pair of free throws to close to within 34-31. The Wolves missed at the line, and then Ours converted at the line after being fouled to make it 34-33 with 1:13 remaining. Following a quick W-MU bucket against the Hillcrest pressure, John Hughes was fouled again, and converted two big free throws to make it 36-35 with 35 ticks left.
Following a quick Hillcrest foul, the Wolves again missed at the line. Ours then nailed a short jumper in traffic off the glass to give the Ravens the 37-36 lead with 21 seconds remaining. A shot by the Wolves was off the mark and Hughes came down with the rebound and got it to Ours, who was fouled with three seconds to play. Ours made one of two, and then following a time-out, the Wolves attempted a long pass that was batted out of bounds by Hughes at midcourt. One time-out later, the Wolves couldn’t get the ball to their first options and had to settle for a deep three that was off the mark, and Ours secured the rebound for the win.
Ours finished with 19 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and had four assists, four rebounds and two steals to lead the Ravens. Hughes finished with eight points and Grant Bender had seven points, including a trey, and a team-high three steals. Aaron Hershberger pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and Luke Schrock had five boards. Will Kolck picked up two steals.
Coach Dwight Gingerich said, “Our intensity was very good early and it was very good late. Eli showed a ton of grit late and so did John, hitting big free throws and grabbing some big rebounds. Our guys did a great job staying together down the stretch and I’m so happy it worked out for them after a rough stretch and being down nine with five to play. Winfield has been playing very well and was a game ahead of us in conference play, so this is a really good road win in conference play.”
The win takes Hillcrest to 4-4 in conference play, 5-4 overall.