CHILLICOTHE — For the third time this season, the Washington Blue Lions took on the Hillsboro Indians Wednesday, this time with a place in the Division II Sectional finals at stake.
In the season’s first meeting between the two SCOL rivals, Washington beat Hillsboro, 60-55 on Dec. 15 at Washington High School.
In the game at Hillsboro High School, on Jan. 26, the Blue Lions trounced the Indians, 79-48.
The Blue Lions rolled to a 72-37 victory over the Indians Wednesday at Southeastern High School.
This sets up a third game on the season between the Blue Lions and their Fayette County and SCOL rivals, Miami Trace Friday at 7 p.m. at SEHS.
Back on Feb. 5, Miami Trace edged Washington, 60-58 at the Panther Pit.
On Jan. 8, at Washington High School, the Blue Lions beat the Panthers, 55-47.
In Wednesday’s first game, the McClain Tigers hung tough with the Unioto Shermans until the fourth quarter, when the Tanks emerged with a 43-28 victory.
This sets up a rematch between Unioto and the Chillicothe Cavaliers for a Sectional championship and a trip to the Convo in Athens Saturday at 7 p.m. back at SEHS.
The Blue Lions (now 17-6 on the season) had a quartet in double figures, led by senior Cameron Eckles with 20 points. Eckles was the top scorer in the ball game.
Washington junior Griffin Shaw scored 19 points, including hitting three of the Blue Lions’ four three-point field goals.
Senior Max Knisley had 16 points and junior Jarett Patton scored 10 points.
For Hillsboro (finishing the 2015-16 season with a record of 8-16), Marshall Ward led with 10 points.
D.J. Brown scored nine and Phillip Mycroft had eight for the Indians.
On this night, the Blue Lions had the hot hand, offensively, while the Indians struggled from the field.
A look at the unofficial shooting totals shows the Blue Lions connecting on 25 of 45 field goal attempts for 56 percent.
Hillsboro made 12 field goals out of 37 attempts for 32 percent.
Hillsboro was also hurt by turnovers, with 16 in the first half (19 for the game).
The Blue Lions took care of the ball, with a total of 10 turnovers.
The Indians shot 12 of 22 from the foul line for 55 percent.
Washington went to the line for 27 total attempts, making 18 for 67 percent.
After a bit of a choppy start for both teams, the score changed hands three times in the early going.
When Eckles hit two free throws to give the Blue Lions a 4-3 lead, no one could know at the time that Washington would hold on to the lead for good.
At the end of the first quarter, Washington led Hillsboro, 18-12.
The Blue Lions continued shooting very well in the second quarter, making 8 of 11 field goal attempts for 73 percent.
Washington outscored Hillsboro, 22-9 in the second quarter to take a 40-21 halftime lead.
The Blue Lions shot 60 percent from the field in the first half (15 of 25) to 39 percent for the Indians (7 of 18).
Washington continued to outscore Hillsboro in the second half by a margin of 2 to 1.
The Blue Lions won the third quarter, 17-8, to take a 57-29 lead into the final period.
Washington won the final quarter, 15-8 to post the 72-37 victory.
“Hillsboro is a well-coached team,” Washington head coach Shannon Bartruff said. “They take advantage of what they do well. They presented us with a few problems because they have decent size and they have some kids that can shoot the basketball.
“We wanted to be aggressive, especially in the half court,” Bartruff said. “I thought Kenny Upthegrove and C.J. Taylor did a great job pressuring the ball early. I felt like that helped us to get them out of position in their offense.
“Our kids did a great job in the half-court,” Bartruff said. “I wanted to make sure we came out and played good, solid defense. For us, that turns into transition; that turns into good offense.
“When Griffin is making shots and getting out and running, our guys do a great job of finding him,” Bartruff said. “Again, our defense was probably our best offense tonight.”
Bartruff looked ahead to Friday’s Sectional final match-up the Panthers.
“What else can you ask for?” Bartruff said. “If you are a kid from Fayette County, you have a chance to come back to Southeastern and play (in front of a large crowd). The atmosphere will be electric. It’s for a big ticket. It’s for a ticket to the Convo in Athens.
“They’re going to be fired up and we will be, too,” Bartruff said. “They’ll be a tough match-up for us. They’re extremely athletic. They can shoot it; they can spread you out. We have a day of prep to get ready for them.”
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 18 22 17 15 — 72
H 12 9 8 8 — 32
WASHINGTON — Max Knisley 4 (1)-5-16; Jarett Patton 3-4-10; Evan Upthegrove 0-0-0; Kory Proby 1-0-2; Ryan Flora 0-0-0; C.J. Taylor 0-0-0; Kenny Upthegrove 1-0-2; Dillon Steward 0-0-0; Griffin Shaw 3 (3)-4-19; Cameron Eckles 8-4-20; Richard Burns Jr. 0-0-0; Brian Wilson 0-0-0; Jacob Knisley 1-0-2 ; Blaise Tayese 0-1-1. TOTALS — 21 (4)-18-72. Free throw shooting: 18 of 27 for 67 percent. Three-point field goals: Shaw, 3; M. Knisley. Field goal shooting: 25 of 45 for 56 percent. Turnovers: 10.
HILLSBORO — Payton Bell 0-0-0; Jacob DeAtley 0-0-0; Cameron Reed 0-0-0; Marshall Ward 2-6-10; Logan Kibler 2-0-4; Ty Haithcock 0-0-0; Kelton Anderson 0-0-0; Josh Keets 1-0-2; D.J. Brown 2 (1)-2-9; Phillip Mycroft 3-2-8; Reece Bloomfield 0-0-0; Matthew Ryan 1-2-4. TOTALS — 11 (1)-12-37. Free throw shooting: 12 of 22 for 55 percent. Three-point field goal: Brown. Field goal shooting: 12 of 37 for 32 percent. Turnovers: 19.
Reach Chris Hoppes at 740-335-3611, ext. 1104, or on Twitter @choppes1