Altamont's SCC Success Continues Against HHS

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by Ron Deabenderfer

The first offensive possession by the host Altamont Indians was a warning of things to come when Hillsboro’s boys ventured east to test themselves against a quality opponent Thursday evening, Dec. 23.  The Indians were 6-3 before the game with losses to Newton, Casey-Westfield, and Carlyle.  One of their wins was over Pana in the Panthers’ first game; they had also beaten Greenville in the Greenville shootout, 64-44.  Their win over the Toppers, 55-51, makes the smaller school 4-0 against South Central schools as 2021 comes to a close.

Giving the Toppers hope before the game was the Indians’ loss to Carlyle because Hillsboro outscored Carlyle 31-20 in the second half of their game in the Kaskaskian Tournament enroute to a 60-40 win.  However, the hope seemed ill-timed after Altamont won the tip.  In the first 11 games, Drake Vogel’s jumping ability claimed the ball for Hillsboro eight times.

Evidence of problems Hillsboro might have snaring rebounds occurred in the first possession when the Indians claimed four offensive caroms before putting points on the board.  Eric Kollmann, a burly 6’5”, and his fellow starters, 6’3” Mason Winn and 6’2” Noah Klimpel, pounded the boards.  Hillsboro had only five offensive rebounds for the evening and 19 defensive rebounds for the game.

Even so, the first quarter became a defensive battle.  Will Christian proved hard for the Indians to guard; behind his six points, Hillsboro held a 9-3 lead when the Indians called a 30-second time out to make adjustments after five minutes were gone.  The Indians scored the next nine points, though, with Kollmann’s offensive put-back as the buzzer sounded closing the scoring.

Hillsboro battled back to claim a ten-point lead by halftime.  Altamont’s poor-for-them four-point second quarter production was a combined result of good Topper defense and poor shooting by the hosts.  Blaine Stewart had all seven of his points in the quarter; Vogel added two treys.  Blaze Helton took a charge by Kollmann to gain a possession which culminated in one of Vogel’s treys, and Gavin Matoush added two field goals.  Cautious optimism prevailed for the Toppers.  A perfect bounce pass from Christian to Stewart during a fast break made it 23-14 Toppers; a from-far-away Vogel trey capped a Topper 10-0 run which was snapped by a Winn offensive rebound basket.

In hindsight, Hillsboro should have loaded the bus for the return trip during halftime, because that 26-16 lead was the highlight of the evening for them.  Altamont Coach John Niebrugge most likely reminded his team that they were the home team but had been beaten badly in the second quarter.  He perhaps threatened them if that happened again.  Mason Robinson, held to three points in the first half, ignited the numerous Indian fans by swishing a trey to open the second half; with 4:51 to play in period three, a Robinson rebound basket cut the margin to 26-23.

Hillsboro tried to hold on.  A Christian layup broke the spell temporarily.  After Robinson,  who scored seven of his game-high 15, made it 28-27 with a drive, Vogel found space to launch a good trey, but by quarter’s end, the Indians had turned the ten-point deficit into a 39-36 lead.  

The Toppers were understandably frustrated entering the last eight minutes.  Helton and Matoush, surrounded by bigger players who were willing to push back in answer to their physical style, and Vogel, who didn’t react to earlier questionable calls, all seemed perturbed by losing the lead.  The angst only made it worse.

Matoush had ended his third quarter efforts by making a three, but he was pushed every time he tried to work in the lane, even triple-teamed at times.  A six-point individual spurt put Altamont up 45-38, and it also put Hillsboro into crisis mode.  The crisis worsened when Vogel was called for a technical; then Helton fouled out, and the Toppers had to foul to regain possessions over the last three minutes.

That strategy almost worked.  The Indians made ten free throws in the last quarter, but they also missed 11;  three-pointers by Christian and Jace Stewart following an old-time three by Matoush had Hillsboro within three, 54-51, with 4.2 second to play.  Klimpel stepped to the line; when he missed the first of two (the double-bonus was in effect), Hillsboro had a remote chance, but when the senior guard sank his second, the chance was gone.

Altamont is a good smaller-school team; they had definite size and depth advantages, with the depth allowing them to keep fresh legs on the floor.  Only eight players appeared in Hillsboro’s varsity rotation, but they did play with intensity.

Rebounds stats show Vogel to be the leader with nine, as he was near a double-double for the contest with a team-high 15 points.  Matoush and Christian were also in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively.  Christian was second in rebounding with five.  Helton and Jace Stewart each had three of the team’s 10 assists; Vogel and Christian each had two.  As a team, the Toppers had only 13 turnovers while the Indians had 12.

The Altamont junior varsity outscored Hillsboro 45-17 in the middle two quarters, so the clock ran continuously in the last quarter of the preliminary game.  The starters for the Indian JVs consisted of four juniors and one sophomore.

The Toppers enter the Carlinville Tournament today, Monday, Dec. 27, as the number one seed, however they drag a three-game losing streak and a 5-6 record into the first game against Gillespie this afternoon at 3 p.m.

Dec. 28 Hillsboro plays the late game (7:30) against Staunton, and they finish Red pool play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29, against East Alton Wood River.

The cross pool games begin Dec. 30 at 1:30 with opponents and times to be determined by pool play.

December 23 at Altmont

Hillsboro 9 17 12 13 51

Altamont 12 4 23 16 55

Hillsboro (51) - Drake Vogel 15, Gavin Matoush 12, Will Christian 11, Blaine Stewart 7, Jace Stewart 5, Blaze Helton 1. Totals: 20-46 4-8 51.

Altamont (55) - Mason Robinson 18,  Noah Klimpel 14, Eric Kollmannn 6, Will Schultz 5, Mason Winn 5, Avery Jahraus 4, Tyler Robbins 3.

Three-point field goals: Hillsboro 7 (Vogel 3, Matoush 1, Christian 1, B. Stewart 1, J. Stewart 1); Altamont 5 (Robisnon 2, Klimpel 2, Schultz 1).

Records: Hillsboro (5-6); Altamont (7-3).

Junior Varsity

Hillsboro JV 5 9 8 2 24

Altamont JV 15 19 26 11 74

Hillsboro JV (24) - Mitchell Lowe 7, Nathan Schaake 6, Dylan Lessman 5, Nathan Matoush 2, Landon Summers 2.

Three-point field goals: Hillsboro JV (Lessman 1, Lowe 1).

Record: Hillsboro JV (1-5).

Carlinville Holiday 

Boys Tournament

Green Pool: #2 Litchfield, #3 Carlinville, #6 Calhoun, #7 Bunker Hill

Red Pool: #1 Hillsboro, #4 East Alton-Wood River, #5 Staunton, #8 Gillespie

Monday, December 27

1:30 p.m. - Staunton vs. EAWR

3 p.m. - Gillespie vs. Hillsboro

4:30 p.m. - Litchfield vs. Bunker Hil

7:30 p.m. - Carlinville vs. Calhoun

Tuesday, December 28

1:30 p.m. - EAWR vs. Gillespie

3 p.m. - Calhoun vs. Litchfield

6 p.m. - Carlinville vs. Bunker Hill

7:30 p.m. - Hillsboro vs. Staunton

Wednesday, December 29

3 p.m. - Staunton vs. Gillespie

4:30 p.m. - Bunker Hill vs. Calhoun

6 p.m. - Hillsboro vs. EAWR

7:30 p.m. - Carlinville vs. Litchfield

Thursday, December 30

1:30 p.m. - 7th Place: Green #4 vs. Red #4 (at CMS)

1:30 p.m. - 5th Place: Green #3 vs. Red #3

4:30 p.m. - 3rd Place: Green #2 vs. Red #2

7:30 p.m. - 1st Place: Green #1 vs. Red #1

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