By Kenton Brooks
Phoenix Sports Writer
Hilldale wiped out its scoring woes Thursday night and it came at a good time.
The Hornets had scored a combined 62 points in their first two games, but poured in 66 to notch a 66-54 victory against the Roland junior varsity in the opening round of the Hilldale Tournament at the Event Center.
“We were getting good shots,” Hilldale coach Jeremy Rogers said after his team improved to 1-2 for the season. “If we shoot like that, play defense and rebound like we have, we’re going to be all right.”
Bill Muse, Jr., the son of Connors State men’s head coach Bill Muse, scored a team-high 14 points including eight in the first half.
“Our confidence went up with our shooting and if we keep doing that, our confidence will go way up,” the sophomore said.
Jordan Proctor scored 13 and Hunter Harrison added 11. Hilldale led 35-18 at halftime.
D.D. Washington topped Roland with 15 points and Christian Johnson added 10.
Hilldale’s win sets up an 8:30 p.m. winner’s bracket semifinal against Checotah at the Event Center. Checotah’s Braylon Warrior’s basket with 2.1 seconds left in the game lifted the Wildcats to the 50-49 win against Rejoice Christian. Warrior finished with 15 points.
“When it went in, I had shivers down my body,” Warrior said. “It’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Derek White added 12 for the Wildcats, who are 3-0 for the season to match their total from last season.
Taylor Wise poured in 30 points and Justin Strathe added 14 for Rejoice.
In other games, Morris, coached by former Muskogee assistant Bobby Allison, lost 46-41 to Grove while Stilwell toppled Hilldale JV 77-22. Grove faces Stilwell at 5:30 p.m. in the other semifinal at the Event Center.
Tyler Jenkins scored 17 to drop to 0-3 for the season to lead Morris. Tyler Busch topped Grove with 14, while Spencer Londagin and Jake Spychalski added 12 each.
Andrew Essary and Colby Huval scored 12 points each while 6-foot-9 junior Matt Lea and Ryan Collins added 10 each in Stilwell’s win. Isaac Ishon led Hilldale’s JV with seven.
Hilldale dumped the Morris JV 65-18 and will play Grove in the 7 p.m. semifinals at the Event Center.
Casady Mills scored a game-high 15 points, while Katie Kirkhart had 13 and Nicole Wright added 11 for the Lady Hornets (2-1).
Coach Scott Hensley called the win a “confidence-builder.”
“We’re so wound up right now but the more we play together, the better we’ll get and the more comfortable we’ll feel,” he said.
Hilldale looked comfortable in the first half with a 16-2 scoring run to increase its lead to 26-5 with 4:25 remaining. The Lady Hornets were never threatened.
Meanwhile, Grove was led by Taylor Dodson’s 13 points in the Ridgerunners’ 31-26 win against Rejoice Christian to advance. Ashton Earnhardt led Rejoice with nine.
Roland plays Morris at 4 p.m. in the other semifinal at the Event Center.
Checotah’s Lady Wildcats (0-3) lost 61-31 to Roland. Katelynn Donathan scored a team-high nine points for the Lady Wildcats. The Lady Wildcats fell behind 41-12 at halftime and will play Stilwell at 4 p.m. today at the Old Gym in the consolation bracket.
In other action, Morris girls beat Stilwell 49-36 as Sara Crenshaw had 25 and Kayla Day added 11. Sarah Paden led Stilwell with 10.