Brown, Blue Devils Clutch Down the Stretch as Marietta Defeats Hillgrove 65-62
On Friday night, the Marietta Blue Devils (9-8) hosted the Hillgrove Hawks (11-4) and were looking to bounce back from Wednesday’s 61-50 loss to McEachern. In the opening quarter, Hillgrove would jump out to 24-13 first quarter lead and take that lead into the second quarter. As the second quarter got underway, the Hawks would score first but Marietta would go on a 12-5 run to make it a 28-25 game with 2:13 remaining in the first half. As play continued, both Hillgrove’s and Marietta’s defenses caused trouble for the opposing offenses as neither team was able to score but with under two minutes to play in the first half, Hillgrove would score 8 unanswered points to take a 36-25 lead with seconds remaining and would go on to take a 39-27 lead into the half. As the second half got underway, Hillgrove would strike first adding to their already twelve point lead to go up 41-27.
Following a pair of fouls on Hillgrove and a couple of turnovers, Marietta was able to cut the Hawks lead to 41-32 with 4:55 to go in the third quarter. With 3:19 to go in the third quarter, the Blue Devils would find themselves down 41-34 as the Marietta defense began to cause problems for Hillgrove. After a steal by Marietta’s #5 Jr. Kahlial Hawkins, which lead to a Hillgrove foul drawn by #21 So. Treyian Smith and another foul drawn by #22 Jr. Fionn Brown (25 pts), the Blue Devils cut the Hawks lead to four as Hillgrove led 41-37 with 2:28. It was with 1:12 in the third quarter when Marietta’s #2 Sr. Kharon Cameron (19 pts) connected on a 2-point floater and drew the foul, however the Blue Devils would still be down 39-43 after missed free throw but Smith would get the rebound and put back for Marietta to tie the game 43-43 with under :10 left in the third quarter. On the ensuing inbounds play, Hillgrove’s #24 Sr. Demeirre Black ( 21 pts) would hit a 10 foot jump shot as time expired to put Hillgrove back up 45-43 to end the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Hillgrove would go on a 7-3 run to lead the Blue Devils 52-46 forcing Marietta to use a timeout with 5:15 remaining in regulation play. Out of the timeout, the Blue Devils would go on to score five unanswered points after #14 Sr. Jalar Allen drew a foul and made good on the and one to cut the Hillgrove lead down to one, 52-51 with 4:20 to go. Marietta would take a 53-52 lead after a layup by Cameron and the lead would change five times over the next two minutes but Hillgrove would finally go up by three after a Marietta foul with 1:30 to go. With under a minute to go and possession of the ball, Hillgrove would be up 62-61 but a crucial turnover with :35 remaining would give the ball back to Marietta.
On the ensuing play Marietta’s Brown would drive to the basket for the lead and draw the foul making both free throws to give Marietta a 63-62 lead with :10 remaining as Hillgrove took a timeout. Out of the timeout, Hillgrove’s #30 Sr. Antoine Jones would drive to the basket but the Blue Devil defense would force him baseline with nowhere to go as he turned the ball over. With possession of the ball and under :10 remaining, Marietta’s Allen would draw a foul and connect on both free throws to help ice the game for the Blue Devils as Marietta would go on to win by a final score of 65-62.