Hillsboro Shot Down At Greenville Shootout


A time-tested maxim of coaching on any level is to win every game one should win based on the talent pool available, and to have his/her team put up a spirited battle when the opposing talent level and/or size overmatches what he has available.

The Hillsboro basketball team, boys’ version, found itself in the latter category when facing the Mascoutah Indians in the Greenville Shootout Saturday afternoon, Dec. 18. The Indians had a super-quick 6’1’’ guard, Darien Singleton; a 6’1’’ shoot-from-a-distance guard, Derek Plab; a 6’5’’ and a 6’6’’ duo, Justin King and Jack Seibert, under the basket; and enough quality players coming off the bench to make their practice scrimmages challenging. They also brought a 5-1 record against schools bigger than the Toppers usually face into Saturday’s game. Their only loss had been to O’Fallon High, a perennial larger-school power.

By contrast, Hillsboro was 5-3 on the season, with losses to Rochester (in overtime), Flora (by 5), and Athens (by 24 in another shootout). The last two were similar in student-body size to the Toppers, but Athens had a physical size and depth advantage.

From the opening tip (won by Hillsboro’s Drake Vogel) the superiority of Mascoutah as a team was obvious even to the most ardent Topper fan. Siebert, who was chosen at the game’s end as the contest’s MVP, had eight points working inside; King and Singleton each had four more just in the first quarter. Singleton especially had no trouble outracing Topper defenders down the floor on fast breaks or penetrating to the rim if the defense was set.

Still, Hillsboro had its moments. Vogel, who had scored only six points the night before when the Toppers clipped the Southwestern Birds in Piasa, had seven first quarter points as he and Blaze Helton combined for 10.

Gavin Matoush (7), Jace Stewart (5), and Helton (2) kept the first quarter deficit from growing significantly larger in the second period, but Singleton’s six maintained the almost-double digit lead for the Warriors. He was the most impressive point guard the Toppers had faced to date because his quickness allowed him to create his own shot if nothing else was available. 

Plab hit three consecutive threes as the second half began, dashing any hopes of a Topper comeback; but if that created a test of Topper resolve, Hillsboro passed that test.

As evidence of that, Topper reserve Deklan Riggs took a charge late in the fourth quarter even though surrender flags (proved by extensive substitution by both coaches) were up. If a player will sacrifice his body in the last minute of play even though his team is down by 20 points, it’s proof that his team’s battle-readiness is intact.

It will need to be this pre-Christmas week as the make-up game with a strong, bent on revenge Pana team will be here on Wednesday, Dec. 22. As of press time, it’s to be a triple-header, with a freshman game to precede the junior varsity game which will be followed by the varsity contest. The freshman tip off  is at 5 p.m. 

Thursday the Toppers travel to Altamont; JV action starts at 6 p.m. The Carlinville Holiday Tournament, in which the Toppers are seeded #1, begins on Monday, Dec. 27. That complete schedule will be published soon.

Dec. 18 at Greenville

Mascoutah 18 13 19 12 62

Hillsboro 10 14 10 12 46

Mascoutah (62) - Darien Singleton 14, Jack Siebert 12, Justin King 12, Derek Plab 9, Quincy Hall 9, Ian Tompkins 3, Ryan Bibb 2, Greg Harris 1.

Hillsboro (46) - Drake Vogel 12, Gavin Matoush 11, Jace Stewart 10, Blaze Helton 5, Blaine Stewart 3, Deklan Riggs 3, Bryce Connor 2. Totals: 19-49 3-5 46.

Three-point field goals: Mascoutah 5 (Plab 3, Hall 1, Thompkins 1); Hillsboro 5 (Vogel 2, B. Stewart 1, J. Stewart 1, Riggs 1).

Record: Mascoutah (6-1), Hillsboro (5-4).


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