, Muskogee, OK


January 19, 2014

Hilldale locks up Keys

Any concerns that the Hilldale Hornets would take the Keys Cougars lightly were put to rest in the second quarter of Saturday’s game.

After easing out to a 17-10 advantage after the first eight minutes, the Hornets clamped and limited the Cougars to nine points in the next two quarters on their way to a 68-38 win at the Hilldale Event Center.

Hilldale (3-5) limited Keys (1-8) to two points in the second quarter and seven in the third. Hilldale coach Jeremy Rogers said it took both the offense and defense to get going.

“It was a little shaky at the start,” he said. “We missed a couple of easy shots and a free throw or two in the first four or five minutes. I thought the defense picked up alot, forced some turnovers and got out in transition. I thought we finished the first quarter well and the second and third quarters were sharp.”

The Cougars shot only 5 of 16 (31.2 percent) in the first half compared to the Hornets who made 13 of their 25 shots (52 percent).

Keys coach Duane Jones attributed some of the team’s performance to fatigue, coming off an 83-27 loss to Fort Gibson on Friday.

“We looked a little tired,” he said, one day after missing his team’s contest against Fort Gibson due to his wife being hospitalized.

 “I thought we were OK when we were at 14-10. Then (Hilldale) kind of went on a run and we just kind of laid down. We’re super young and we’ve just got to learn to play hard when things aren’t going well.”

Offensively for the Hornets in the first half, it seemed like a two-man game as Bill Muse Jr. and Derek Altman combined for 26 of Hilldale’s 37 points. Muse said this allowed the two to spread the ball around for others to score.

“Once me and Derek got hot, we tried to find other people,” he said. “I thought we did a great job of that early. We got guys open and found spots them.”

Muse led the Hornets with 19 points and Altman had 14 while Coby Ward led the Cougars with 11 points.

The Hornets’ defense fed off that offense’s performance and forced the Cougars to win the game from the outside.

“That was our game plan coming in,” Muse said. “Make them hit the outside shots and pressure the ball. We have to keep getting better every game.”

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