Leading by two after the first quarter, the Blue Jays rode the hot shooting of sophomore Lukas Clift and junior Lawfton Summers, who combined to score 12 of the Blue Jays’ 16 points in the quarter.
With Marshfield getting its biggest lead of the night early in the second quarter, 6’0” junior guard Jawon Johnson heeded the advice of his coach and got the Hornets jumpstarted with an impressive alley-oop dunk that brought a buzz through the Marshfield gymnasium.
“(Coach John Schaefer) started getting after us after the first quarter because we were playing so lazy,” said Johnson. “We weren’t playing at our level. He told us we just needed to put more effort into it. It is all about effort and defense, and we just needed to step it up and we did.”
The rest of the team followed Johnson’s lead and closed the first-half on a 13-2 run, capped off with three 3-pointers by three different players to end the half that gave Hillcrest a 36-26 lead.
Hillcrest head coach John Schaeffer couldn’t have been more proud of the way his team responded to close the half.
“I didn’t think we started very well,” said Schaeffer. “Our effort wasn’t very good, but I thought we responded and had a good second quarter. We ran the offense well. Offensively, we made some shots and stepped up.”
The Hornets came out in the second-half as hot as they ended the first. With the Blue Jays pulling within six points early in the third quarter, it was senior guard Thomas Whitaker’s turn to step up, as he scored eight of the twelve Hillcrest points in the quarter to push the lead to sixteen.
Overall, Schaeffer was pleased with how his team moved the ball and played together as a team game.
“We got some good play from Brady Petry off the bench,” said Schaeffer. “He made a couple of threes that were good for us. Thomas Whitaker, Austin Petry, and Juwan Johnson have been pretty solid all year. They are all averaging about 12-15 points apiece. Our plan was to push the tempo, get good shots, move the ball, and try to build the lead and spread out. We did that.”
Up next, the Blue Jays host Poplar Bluff on Jan. 18. Hillcrest plays in the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions on Jan. 17 at 6:30 when they take on Paul VI (Va.).
Juwan Johnson 20, Thomas Whitaker 17, Caelan Troy 10, Brady Petry 6, Roy Hardy 4, David Mcintosh 3, Rylan Pryor 2
Blayne Armstrong 13, Lawfton Summers 10, Lukas Clift 9, Brett Diehl 3, Kerrick Wright 3