Hornets Checkmate Bishop, 48-46 In Thriller
The Hundred Hornets shot an impressive 77 percent from the floor and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc in the first quarter against Bishop Donahue, which fell 48-46 March 3 in the Region I Section II semi finals, at Hundred.
In all, Hundred hit 7-11 field goal attempts, including four of six from beyond the arc during the first quarter and, 11 of 18 from the floor in the half.
“We had a week off and had fresh legs and that helped us,” said Hornet Head Coach Justin Balwanz on his team’s shooting performance in the first half.
Hundred sharpshooting in the first half was critical, as it helped compensate for its defensive lapses and offensive turnovers in the second half. Those shortcomings allowed Donahue to overcome a 33-19 deficit to knot the game at 44 with 4:08 remaining in the fourth period and to retake the lead with 2:56 left.
“I wasn’t happy with our offensive intensity in the second half,” said Balwanz. “We bailed ourselves out with our first half advantage and made a stop when we had to and made a shot when we needed it.”
Donahue scored the game’s first bucket in the paint and the Hornets retaliated with a basket by Corey Kimble. Bishop scored again on a nice basket in the paint, when the Hornets’ Zach Phillips injured his ankle on the play and hobbled off the court
Hundred’s Emery Smith, Shane Kuhn and Kimble drilled back-to-back-baskets from beyond the arc and Logan McDiffitt followed with a deuce to give the hosts an 11-6 advantage. McDiffitt added a three point bucket for a 16-6 Hundred lead that forced the Bishops into a time out.
Donahue scored two more buckets, with Hundred getting the final bucket of the quarter for a 18-10 first quarter lead.
Two minutes went by before the Dalton Kuhn swished two charity tosses for the Hornets. A few moments later McDiffitt committed grand theft of a Bishop basketball and scored an uncontested lay up.
Donahue answered their its own back-to-back shots and Hundred used their first time out to talk things over. The Hornets came out of the huddle smokin’ and scored 11 of the next 15 points to give them a 33-19 halftime advantage.
McDiffitt led the charge for the Hornets with 13 first half points, while Dalton Kuhn added seven points that included 4-4 foul shots. Shane Kuhn and Kimble teamed for 10 markers.
in the second half, the Bishops were clicking on all cylinders, while the Hornets were in need of a tune-up that resulted on a huge turn around. Donahue scored eight straight points and held Hundred without a bucket for five and a half minutes before Kimble cashed in on two free throws.
McDiffitt drilled a basket from beyond the arc. Smith then hit the front end of a two-shot foul. He missed the second, but followed his shot and was fouled again trying to put it back. This time, he made good on both tosses to increased Hundred’s lead by 10, at 42-32.
With 7.7 seconds remaining in the third period, the boys from McMechen shot the ball three times, making the last one as time expired. In the fourth period, Hundred got too conservative on offense, while Donahue continued its comeback with six straight points to pull to within one point at the 4:49 mark
Dalton Kuhn followed with Hundred’s first score of the period, but the Bishops came storming back with a pair of buckets to knot the game at 44 and taking the lead for the first time since the first frame.
But, the Bishop sent Kimble to the foul line where he willed himself to knot the game at 46 with a pair of freebies with 2:56 showing on the clock.
Donahue played for the last shot and worked the clock down to its last time out with 11 seconds remaining.
After the time out, Bishop attacked the hoop, but Kimble met Donahue with a great defensive stop and Hundred took over, with 6.4 seconds remaining. Balwanz called a time out to set the stage for the dramatic ending.
Smith inbounded the ball to Kimble, who drove the court and dished off to McDiffitt in the corner. The shot missed its mark, but Phillips back – from his first quarter ankle injury – was johnny-on-the-spot and put back the miss as the horn sounded for the Hornet victory.
“My hat’s off to Donahue. They had us on our heels in the second half and came back and wouldn’t go away,” said a jubilant Balwanz after the game.
“Its win or go home. We told our players that Bishop was going to press us in the second half and they did. We got careless with the ball and got too timid on offense. But, we made the plays when we had to. We made a stop on defense and then came back to make a play on offense. That was huge,” added Balwanz.
“Our players and our fans, (that also included most of the Valley boys’ basketball team) will have memories that will last forever. I am so proud of our players, cheerleaders, students, faculty and all of our many fans.”
McDiffitt paced the Hornets with a game-high 16 points that included a pair of three point buckets. Kimble netted 10 points, including a triple. He also pulled down eight boards, made two steals and added a pair off assists, while playing tough defense.
Other Hornets contributing include Dalton Kuhn with nine points, including 4-4 at the free throw line. Smith tallied six points and six rebounds, while Shane Kuhn came off the bench to add five points, including one basket from downtown. Phillips made the most important bucket, the game-winner.