• Prior to Friday night’s loss to SMAA foe Albion, Hillsdale head coach Brad Felix said at the beginning of the season he predicted a .500 or so finish for the now 8-3 Hornets. They had exceeded the expectations of fans and the coaching staff up until Friday, but in the raucous Albion gym their lack of “big-game” experience showed up early and often. In the last two weeks point guard Cameron Holroyd has been a prime example of the team’s inconsistency, as he’s been all over the map. On Jan. 24 he went off for 20 points in a rout of Homer, before scoring eight in a let-down loss to Harper Creek the following night. Friday he put in nine points, five from the charity stripe, but he had six turnovers and he was like watching a hot muscle car with engine problems. He would rev things up on the fastbreak and make a beautiful read one possession, only to be out-of-control and stall his team out on the next with a momentum-killing turnover. Felix called Holroyd “wildly inconsistent” and the kind of player he just doesn’t know what to do with sometimes.
• Albion guard Darius Crum is the type of dead-ring shooter who can go for 20 points on any given night. Friday he was just 1-of-7 from the field for seven points, but he still was a major cog in the Wildcat offense. Hillsdale spent much of their energy forcing the ball out of his hands and Crum made them pay with four assists and countless other passes that ended up being one pass away from made field goals. By halftime Crum knew what his role was, and he didn’t even attempt a field goal in the second half, yet he had a big impact on the outcome of the contest. Not too many high school stars always have the best interest of the team in mind when it means sacrificing their own stat line.
• From the stands it seemed like Hillsdale was most effective when it got the ball in the hands of big men Dan Vear and Brian Edwards on the block, but too often the Hornets settled for the first-open shot it saw, instead of running true sets. Felix echoed those sentiments, saying, “Did you see the first-possession of the second half” We got down the court, got set, ran a play and had an easy layup. It was the best possession we had all night and it was simply doing what we practice.” Discipline was a major factor in what separated the Wildcats from the Hornets.
• Diante Taylor was kind of an unsung stud for Albion. He tallied only five points, but he added eight rebounds, a couple of assists, two steals — and most importantly he handled the rock well when Hillsdale forced the ball out of Crum’s hands. “He’s a pretty heady guy and definitely has some athleticism,” Albion head coach Durant Crum said. “He played big tonight on defense and handles the ball pretty well with Hillsdale trying to take the ball out of Darius’s hands.”