Posted: Tuesday, 05 February 2013 11:35PM

Hartville moves to top spot in Summit Conference



Hartville, Mo. (OzarksSportsZone.com)  -- The Hartville boys' basketball team followed a big Summit Conference win on Friday over Fordland with a 77-57 win over the Conway Bears on Tuesday.

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The win puts the Eagles in the driver’s seat in the Summit as the only undefeated team in league play as they improve to 19-3 overall and 3-0 in the leage.
 
But it didn't come easily.
 
Conway (11-10 overall, 1-4 Summit) jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter thanks to three 3-pointers and 13 points from junior guard Josh Cunningham. The Bears led 18-8 late in the first quarter and went to the second quarter ahead 21-13.
 
"We came out and made some turnovers in the first quarter that led to some easy baskets for Conway, and they made some tough 3-pointers and all the credit goes to Conway, they played well in the first-half,” said Hartville head coach Brett Reed. "But after (the first quarter) we settled down and I thought we did a lot better job of guarding them."
 
Hartville turned up its defensive intensity in the second and held the Bears scoreless throughout the first five minutes of the quarter. The Eagles used a 16-0 run to turn a 21-13 deficit into a 27-21 lead.
 
The Bears fought back as Cunningham finally ended the drought with a basket with 2:53 remaining and Conway went to the half down three, 32-29.
 
Conway was within five (43-38) with a little more than four minutes remaining in the third quarter when the Eagles got a three-point play sophomore Richie Wilson. The play ignited a 10-2 run and Hartville went to the fourth quarter ahead 53-43.
 
The Bears got as close as 53-46 early in the fourth quarter after a basket by sophomore Nathan Neal, but Hartville pulled away, extending its lead down the stretch.
 
"We were playing well in the first quarter and that has kind of been us this year," said Conway head coach Adam Thornhill. "We're playing young guys out there and we look pretty good at times, and pretty average at times. And that is kind of what we did tonight. I thought we played really good in the first quarter, then didn't score for (five) minutes in the second. That is just us being inconsistent."
 
The Bears also played extensive minutes without senior guard Tastin Vaughn, who picked up his third foul early in the second quarter, and his fourth early in the third quarter. Without Vaughn, the Bears went into an offensive funk in the second quarter.
 
"I thought we weathered the storm in the second quarter and that momentum shift in the second quarter," said Thornhill.. "There are definitely some positives there, but when the momentum shifts, the things that work well for us when we are playing well, we get away from them and start playing individually."
 
Conway got 17 points from Cunningham, all in the first-half, and 11 points from sophomore forward Nathan Neal. Vaughn and freshmen Andrew Huckaby and Hunter Dame each added eight points.
 
Four players finished in double figures for the Eagles and eight players scored, led by junior Shade Piper's game-high 21 points. Seth Hensley, a 6-foot-5 junior post player, recorded a double-double, scoring 12 points, hauling in 11 rebounds and even showing off his shooting range, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
 
"We call him (Hensley) a monster,"said Reed. "He did a great job on the boards for us tonight and he has done a good job all year."
 
Hartville got 15 points and three 3-pointers from junior point guard Hunter Simmons and a big boost off the bench from Wilson, who scored 10 points.
 
The Eagles will learn their seed in Missouri Class 3 District 10 on Wednesday. Hartville has losses this season to Clever, Republic and Mt. View-Liberty, who will likely be awarded the No. 1 seed. The district tournament will be played at Willow Springs.
 
"I feel like we played a little bit better tonight than we have been and hopefully in this next week or so we'll be playing our best and will be ready for districts," said Reed.

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