Washington Evening Journal
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KALONA — Hillcrest Academy had everything going for them. The Ravens had won seven straight before falling to Southeast Super Conference leaders Winfield Mt. Union on Friday.
On Tuesday night, they suffered their second loss in a row to the number two team in the conference, Mediapolis, 39-29. It’s the second time the Bulldogs have bested the Ravens, the first time being in the season opener.
The Ravens came out struggling in the first, getting outscored 12-5. Four of the Raven’s points came from the Southeast Iowa Super Conference North scoring leader Grant Bender.
“I felt like it took a us a little bit to get ourselves comfortable with the different things they threw at us,” Hillcrest Academy head coach Dwight Gingerich said.
In the second, Mediapolis built up as big as a 11 point lead before a 5-0 run by Hillcrest in the final minutes, with a three at the buzzer from Seth Ours, made it a six point game, 21-15, going into the locker room.
Hillcrest crawled back in the third while holding the Bulldogs to seven points and scoring nine of its own off of three outside shots, two coming from Bender who had 14 heading into the fourth. The Ravens found themselves down by just four, 28-24.
Bender’s presence was felt by the Bulldogs. Mediapolis came out in the fourth running a box and one.
“We felt like we could still get the ball to him,” Gingerich said. “We were able to get the ball to him a little bit, but when he kicked it out we just unfortunately missed some shots. I though we had some good looks. We haven’t seen that this year. We will be working on that.”
The Ravens continued their momentum to start the quarter, with a reverse layup by Aiden Krabill, cutting the lead to two, 28-26. It would be as close as they would come.
The Hillcrest Academy offense went stagnant from then on out and Mediapolis took advantage.
The Bulldogs went on a 11-3 run to end the game, with seven straight points coming from Cole Lipper, who finished with a game-high 17.
“Lipper hurt us last year as a sophomore,” Gingerich said. “He didn’t play the first time we played them and he scored 17 tonight. He’s a big body and has a really nice feel for what to do around the basket. He carves out space and he’s agile. He’s a tough matchup for us.”
The Raven’s were without starting guards Luke Schrock and Noah Miller, who is out with an ACL tear.
Hillcrest had just three players score in the contest.
Bender was held scoreless in the fourth, finishing with a team-high 14. Aiden Krabill added 12 points. Seth Ours chipped in three.
“I told the guy’s I loved our effort,” Gingerich said. “We grew. We’ve got some things we need to work on and get ready to come back.”
The Ravens drop to 7-3 with the loss and will be on the road against Wapello on Friday.