Keys 58, Hilldale 50
The Cougars (11-10) used the inside muscle of Payton Ragsdale and the long range 3-point shooting of Trevor Eubanks to overpower the Hornets.
But not without a fight.
The game was nip-and-tuck the first half as Keys led most of the way, but never by more than a handful of points. But with the Cougars on top 26-22, Hilldale closed out the half on an 8-0 run to lead by four, 30-26 at the half.
Eubanks, who canned four NBA-range 3-pointers on the night, scored 13 of his game high 23 points in the third quarter to help Keys go back on top 41-36 at the end of three. And the Hornets had no answer inside against Ragsdale, who had 18 points with most of them coming on put backs or short passes into the paint.
“Their big kid really hurt us,” said Hornets coach Jeremy Rogers. “We didn’t have anyone who could box him out or match up with him. But we also got a little dead-legged and shots weren’t falling in second half very well.”
The Cougars outscored the Hornets 6-2 in the first three minutes of the final stanza to stretch their lead to 44-38 and that was as close as Hilldale (5-16) would be able to get the rest of the game.
“We got out to an eight- or 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and made them play chase for a little bit,” said Cougars coach Duane Jones. “We’ve been in that situation three or four times lately, but we’ve been the ones doing the chasing, so it was kind of nice to be ahead.”
Besides Ragsdale and Eubanks, Cody Cole added 10 points for the Cougars and drew some praise from his coach.
“I thought Cody Cole got after them defensively. He had four or five steals and several loose ball plays where he was hustling,” said Jones.
Dylan Rowan was the leading scorer for the Hornets with 13 points and Hunter Harrison had 10 in the game, as those two along with Trent Kirkpatrick, played their final game at home for the Hornets.