By Pastor Vince Carrig
Hershey forward Jordan Hiatt touched off a three-point shooting bonanza that worked toward a 67-53 Panthers win in Hershey Friday night, even though Perkins County scored more three-pointers.
Hiatt mercilessly nailed three three-point shots in the first quarter, including the first shot of the game, to pound the Plainsmen under a 21-5 Panthers scoring avalanche.
Forward Bryson Hellmuth would convert a three-point play and Hiatt took advantage of a rebound tipped right to him to complete a 25-5 drubbing to open the game.
Finding their feet and their wits, Perkins County actually won the last 20 minutes of play by a 48-42 score. But Hershey’s hot start sealed their fate.
The Plainsmen connected on more three pointers (eight to six) than Hershey, and received as many three-point play opportunities (two apiece).
Guards Quinton Hite and Jake Sexson grooved two apiece in the second quarter, and Jeremy Hagan hit one of his two three pointers in a 23-14 comeback bid that gave Perkins County some traction.
Sexson also cashed in on a rare four-point play after a Hershey defender cleaned him out while taking a shot from beyond the arc.
The shot and the bonus free throw dropped for Sexson, who finished with a team-high 14 points.
Niceties turned to nerves for Hershey after Hite hit a shot from well behind the arc at the halftime buzzer, and teammate Tyler Brott put back a third quarter rebound to draw the visiting Plainsmen to within six at 40-34.
Guard Jimmy Moore, however, rebuilt Hershey’s lead with three hopeless moves to the basket and a three pointer. Moore drove the lane, initiated contact, and let his shot fly. No shot went in, but Moore benefited with eight free throw attempts, of which he downed seven to finish with a game-high 16 points.
Moore’s last drive through the lane ended with a shot from underneath the bottom of the hoop; no matter: after the foul call, Hershey led 58-45 with 4:34 to play.
Senior guard Keegan Kuroki awoke in the second half, joining the “three” parade and putting back an “air ball” for nine total points after the intermission.
Hershey counted 17 of 23 free throws for points.
Hiatt co-led all scorers with 16 points; Hagan co-led the Plainsmen with 14 points.
Reserve sophomore forward Caleb Breazeale hit a three pointer for the Plainsmen in the final minute; Hite landed both “threes” he attempted.
The Plainsmen ended their 2010-11 season with a 7-14 record, quite different than Hershey’s 17-3 result.
P.C. 53, Hershey 67
Perkins Co. 5 23 12 13—53
Hershey 21 14 17 15—67
Perkins County played 3-18 Southwest in the opening round of the NSAA class C2 sub-district 11 playoffs on Monday night, with results not available at press time. The winner of that game got a date with the 18-4 North Platte St. Pat’s Irish on Tuesday night.