By RJ Walters / Daily News Sports Editor
As published on Feb. 7, 2009 in the Hillsdale Daily News
It was almost a brilliant come-from-behind road win that culminated with a renewed commitment to post defense in the second half and big 3-pointer after big 3-pointer.
But it wasn’t.
Instead, it was a heartbreaking road loss, the type Brad Felix said he was worried about.
The Hillsdale head coach said earlier thi
s week he knows his team will win most games where they score in the 70s or 80s, but he’s concerned they aren’t at the point where they can win games that are played in the 50s. Friday was a prime example with the host Pilgrims edging the Hornets 57-54 in a key league tilt.
The first half was yet another slow start to a road contest for the Hornets (8-4, 3-2) , one they had to spend plenty of energy fighting back from.
After Hillsdale got out to a quick 8-6 lead the Pilgrims went to the post almost every possession, where 6-6 Mickey DeVries scored 12 points in the first quarter to stake Lansing Christian to a 16-9 lead.
In the second quarter Hillsdale senior Scott Lantis drained a 3-pointer to bring the Hornets within 14-20, but a 12-6 run to end the half gave the Pilgrims a 32-20 edge.
Matthew Romey scored eight points in the final three minutes of the half and DeVries put in six more points in the quarter to pace Lansing Christian.
Whatever Felix said at halftime must of worked. Either that or the Hornets just decided it was finally time to start knocking down the long ball.
After making just 2-of-12 3-point shots in the first half, the Hornets nailed four triples, including a Gabriele 4-point play to knot the score at 35-all just four minutes into the second half.
Another MacDonald 3-pointer gave Hillsdale its first lead since 3-0 at 42-41, but it was more than just good shooting that helped the Hornets climb back in the contest.
After 18 first half points by DeVries, strong defense from Hillsdale forwards Nick Kelley and Brennan Holroyd held him scoreless in the third period.
The Hornets took a 1-point lead into the final quarter, but several offensive putbacks, including DeVries first bucket of the half haunted them down the stretch.
Lantis knotted the score at 51-all with a layup with 2:10 remaining, but that was the last time the score was tied.
DeVries scored on the Pilgrims next trip down the floor and on the ensuing possession Gabriele fouled out when DeVries stepped in to take a charge.
The Hornets clawed within 54-55 with a minute to play, but a pair of Romey free throws, coupled with two missed 3-pointers by MacDonald in the final 15 seconds sealed the deal.
MacDonald led the Hornets with 14 points, including four triples and Gabriele and Lantis both added 13.
Kelley scored nine in the loss.
DeVries finished with 23 points and Caleb Coleman poured in 14. Romey finished with 10.
The Hornets only turned the ball over seven times all game, all in the first half.
Hillsdale faces Onsted on Tuesday and hosts Parma Western next Friday.