Hawks Take 5th in Christmas Tournament

The Hillsboro Hawks Boys Varsity Basketball team goes 3-1 and finishes fifth in the 66th annual Park Hills Christmas Tournament.

The Hillsboro Hawks Boys Varsity Basketball team faired well in the 66th Annual Bob Sechrest Jr. Christmas Tournament, taking fifth place overall. They traveled to Park Hills Central and won three of their four games, with their only loss coming against the host Rebels in a 67-66 nail-biter.

The Hawks kicked off the first round with a dominant 70-53 win over Herculaneum. After jumping out to a 16-14 lead in the first quarter, they poured it on in the second with a convincing 21-11 showing. That gave them a 37-25 lead going into the break, and they wouldn’t look back.

Herky came out recharged in the third as the two sides grappled to a 15-15 draw, but Hillsboro’s lead was too much and their 18-15 fourth quarter advantage sealed the deal. Noah Holland led the charge with 28 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. Kyle Phipps was next in line scoring-wise with 15 points and Payton Brown led the team with 10 rebounds.

After breezing through the first round, the Hawks were slated to face the host team, The Park Hills Central Rebels in the second round, and were considered significant underdogs. A very tough Central team showed their strength early as they went up 13-8 after the first eight minutes and then extended their lead in the second quarter with a 21-13 advantage.

They went into the half with a convincing 34-21 lead, but something happened at half time and the Hawks come out guns blazing. They fought back in the third, gaining back eight points with an 18-10 quarter and then put up 27 in the fourth. They held Central to 23, but late free throws allowed the Rebels to escape with the narrowest of victories.

The 67-66 final was a heart-breaking defeat, but the Hawks really showed moxie in the second half. Phipps led the way in this one with 21 points, and Holland was nipping at his heels with 20. Kieren Jones was the big defensive star with 13 rebounds and narrowly missed a double-double with nine points.

The loss dropped the Hawks into the fifth place bracket, but they made the most of it and fought hard through the remainder of the tournament. They faced off with the Dragons of Ste. Genevieve next and it looked like a daunting matchup after a 17-12 first quarter in favor of the Dragons. But the Hawks came roaring back in the second with an 18-8 advantage and headed into the half with a 30-25 lead.

Ste. Gen clawed back a bit with a 16-13 third frame, but the Hawks slammed the door in the fourth as they snuffed out the Dragons with a 16-9 quarter and ultimately a 59-50 victory. Phipps led the way again with 25, while Holland had 23 of his own. The pair were responsible for over 80% of the team’s points.

The final game came against Steelville, and the battle for fifth place was a tight one early. The Hawks trailed 14-13 after the first quarter, but fought back valiantly in the second, outscoring their opponents 14-10 to take a slim lead into the half. The third frame was where they would open it up though. Hillsboro racked up 22 points and held Steelville to just 13, which set up a tension-free fourth quarter that saw the Hawks cruise to a 64-50 win and the fifth spot in the tourney.

Phipps went off in this one, leading all scorers with 32 points and had six rebounds and three assists to boot. Holland had 13 points and Brown was big on the boards with 12 rebounds to round out the notable scorers.

The Hawks have had an up and down season, but are now 7-4 and have some momentum under their collective belt. Their next challenge is against Northwest Cedar Hill on January 4th. Hawks Take 5th in Christmas Tournament

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