By T.J. Hug
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
(November 21, 2014)-MONTPELIER: Hilltop made the trip down 20-A to take on the Locomotives of Montpelier in the 2014 edition of the host team’s Foundation Basketball Game.
Each Junior Varsity and Varsity team, boys and girls, played against one another for a shortened half of action. Such a format leads one to ask the question of just how does a team win a Foundation Game?
Opening up the evening was a match-up between the Junior Varsity girls. Constant pressure and stingy defense by Hilltop proved to be too much for the young Locomotive girls to handle, as the Lady Cadets took the game convincingly. The visiting girls of Hilltop played defense for the full length of the court, all game long. The Lady Locos struggled to hold onto the ball against such an aggressive attack, allowing Hilltop to create several turnovers.
Perhaps the most exciting game of the night, the Junior Varsity boys did battle second. A thrilling contest, Montpelier was able to come from behind late to claim a twenty-two to twenty win over their guests from Hilltop. Much like their female counterparts, the Locomotive boys had a hard time handling the press early on. However, adjustments were made the Montpelier Coaching staff, and the home town boys were able to break the Cadet attack. Missing some vital free throws late in the game, Montpelier left the door open for Hilltop in the closing seconds. A half court shot at the buzzer missed the mark, though, and Montpelier earned a hard fought victory.
The Varsity girls were next to take the court. Despite a strong start by the Lady Cadets, the experience displayed by a veteran Locomotives team was enough to come away with a twenty-two to eighteen victory. Hilltop hit some open looks early in the game, and put a lot of pressure on Montpelier with their press. Yet, those cracks in the Lady Locos’ defense were patched up in short order, and the home team handled their opponent’s tough defensive efforts pretty well. Hannah Blake scored some tough points when Montpelier needed them most, penetrating toward the hoop, as well as knocking down some mid-range jumpers.
But it was the savvy nature of the more experienced Montpelier squad that won them this game. Pulling down crucial rebounds and finding ways to get to the free throw line is what earned them the victory.
In the Varsity boys’ contest, Hilltop got off to a hot start and never relinquished the lead. It was the hot shooting of sophomores Quinn Smith and Tim Maneval that propelled the Cadet offense, as the young duo accounted for twenty nine of their team’s thirty six points. Montpelier played admirably, using their athleticism to attack the basket and play solid defense. The Locos also showed off their depth, with many players seeing time in the game. Hilltop’s ability to make tough shots was just too much for the Locomotives to combat, however, and they totaled only twenty-four points.
Yet, going forward, Montpelier demonstrated that they’re a more consistent team, and are certainly much improved from last season. Hilltop will need more players to contribute offensively if they plan to compete for a Buckeye Border Conference title this year. Smith and Maneval won’t always be able to carry that burden alone.
So the question remains; who won the Foundation Game between Montpelier and Hilltop?
That would be The Helping Hands Food Pantry. Spectators for the game received a reduced ticket price if they brought a canned food item to donate. With adults paying six dollars for entry, and students paying four, a donation would shave two dollars off of the cost of admission.
T.J. Hug can be reached at email@example.com.