(February 23rd, 2015): HILLTOP – With the end of the regular season rapidly approaching, both the Cadets and the visiting Eagles of Fayette had great intentions of winning; the Eagles on track to taking the BBC conference while the Cadets looking to finish the season at the .500 mark.
Right out of the gate, both teams came out charging; Fayette’s Alec Bost and Koby Biddix sinking three-pointers while Hilltop’s offense was driving in tight to the basket. Quinn Smith thrashed through the Eagle defense, gaining 8 points in the 2nd quarter alone. With the energetic drive from Smith, the Cadets found themselves ahead 11-8 at the half.
Hilltop’s early proclamation was answered with fierce retaliation from Fayette’s offense. Though the Eagles were totalling 14 points in the third quarter, the Cadets were one step ahead with 16 points of their own. Fayette’s Biddix sank two three-pointers while the towering Tristen Bates continued to ascend over the Cadets and score from the inside.
The Cadet’s 5-point lead going into the final 8 minutes would be jeopardized on multiple occasions. Fayette’s Jared Seller steadily shot 3/3 free-throws in addition to four points in the chase; Bost and Biddix would each tally a three-point goal as Bates added one more layup into the mix. Hilltop responded with an equally intensive quarter; Erik Stipe added a single free-throw while Jalen Towers and Tim Maneval totaled 13 points to forge ahead and claim victory against the Eagles, 49-47.
Hilltop’s triumph over the Eagles instilled hope in the Cadet’s ability to finish the season on the upswing. Fayette’s loss threatened the possibility of losing out on the conference title; with Stryker’s team in close pursuit, the last game of the season would determine the outcome in the race for first place.