HAPPY DAYS! Huskies Capture School’s 3rd Boys Basketball Sectional….1st since 2002-03
Hamilton County Sports Daily
Talk about getting even.
Talk about enjoying the moment.
Talk about Hamilton Heights!
There was a lot to talk about these young Huskies….and a lot to smile about….and maybe even boast about.
The Hamilton Heights basketball fans spilled onto the floor at the famous Muncie Fieldhouse….and the Huskies cut down nets.
Some might call it a fitting ending after what Muncie Central did to the Huskies a year ago, beating them 69-35 in the championship game.
Yeah, what a difference a year can make.
Hamilton Heights, with only three seniors on the roster, delivered an impressive performance in Class 3A Sectional 24, outscoring Muncie Central 39-17 in the second half en route to skinning the Bearcats for the Class 3A Muncie Sectional 60-42 on Monday night.
| BLACKFORD REGIONAL
10:00-Ft. Wayne Concordia (20-4) vs. Hamilton Heights (15-8)
Noon-Tippecanoe Valley (20-3) vs. Norwell (17-6)7:30-Championship
■ The Hamilton Heights athletic department will have Regional tickets on sale from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. daily, and until il 2 o’clock on Friday. he all-session tickets, good for all three games, are $10.
It was the school’s third sectional basketball championship and the first since the 2002-03 season. The other title came in 1975.
The Huskies of coach Chad Ballenger now move on to meet Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran (20-4) in Saturday’s first game of the Blackford Regional.
Muncie Central, an extremely athletic team, tried to defend the entire floor, but the Bearcats couldn’t keep step with the explosive Huskies (15-8) in the second half.
The Huskies trailed 9-8 after the opening quarter and 25-21 at intermission. They also fell behind 23-14 late in the second quarter on back-to-back treys by Kaleb Mallory, who led the Bearcats with 17 points on the night.
Junior Bo O’Laughlin scored six points in the third quarter, helping the Huskies take a 5-point lead heading into the final 8 minutes of play.
The Huskies, who scored 22 points in the final quarter, pretty much sealed the victory at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, making 11-of-12, led by freshman Hunter Crist’s 6-for-6 performance. They centered 14-of-18 on the night.
Ironically, Hamilton Heights’ top two scorers on the season were not the story, though senior Alex Etherington, who leads the team with an 18.5 scoring average, and sophomore Grant Weatherford, a 10.1 scorer, did contribute big in ways other than scoring.
Etherington, who received a lot of defensive attention, was limited to 3-for-12 shooting from the field and scored only 7 points. He also had 8 rebounds and 2 steals and 1 assist. Weatherford, who was 1-of-3 shooting, dished out 8 assists, grabbed 3 boards and added 1 steal.
But those Husky underclassmen really rose to meet the challenge.
Crist led the Huskies with 17 points; O’Laughlin, who finished with 8 rebounds, netted 16; and sophomore Jadon White scored 11 points.
Crist’s 3-point play put the Huskies ahead 31-30 with 2:24 remaining in the third quarter; Weatherford followed with a basket fort a 33-30 lead and the Huskies never trailed from there.
Their lead ballooned to 9 points at the 4:44 mark of the fourth quarter. It grew to 47-36 with 4:05 showing and 51-36 with 2:26 left and 53-40 with 1:58 remaining….and smiles and excitement and anticipation were quite evident on the bench as the countdown to the celebration was building momentum.