By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
The Chillicothe High School basketball Hornets apparently were more than casual observers of their female counterpart’s game last night.
After the Lady Hornets bolted to a quick 7-points lead and got ahead by 11, 16-5, early in the second quarter with sharp outside shooting, they lost traction and their game took as much as a 28-points swing before CHS lost to visiting Trenton, 53-41.
In the boys’ varsity game, the Hornets got off to an even-more-blazing start as, after netting the first seven points, they were up by as many as 14 in the opening period. When they cooled off, Trenton’s Bulldogs – riding the red-hot shooting of Colby Larson – closed the gap bit by bit until, just past the mid-point of the final stanza, they trailed by a mere two points.
At that point, rather than breaking down in overwhelmed fashion, the Hornets met the challenge head on, responding with nine consecutive points to reestablish control and eventually win, 63-56.
“We played really well. We shot it well,” CHS head coach Tim Cool summarized the action in his post-game broadcast interview.
The home-court triumph lifted the Hornets’ record to 6-9, while Trenton, having its best boys’ season in a number of years, slipped to 10-6.
Statistically, beyond Larson’s sharp shooting, Trenton impressively got 13 points from Austin Taul and 10 from Chase Tolson.
Chillicothe, which shot over 60 percent from the floor, according to Cool, had Tyler Clampitt net 17 tallies, Nate McKiddy 13, and Wade Dietz 12, as well as Ryan Smith with nine.
“That’s a great shooting night,” Cool praised. “When you’re making baskets, basketball looks a whole lot better. We got good shots. We got good looks. The guys did a nice job of shot selection and shared the ball real well.”
McKiddy and Dietz unofficially each racked up impressive assists totals – six for the ninth grader and five for the senior. Clampitt had three as the team registered 17.
In the girls' game, statistically, Trenton's breadth of scoring capability was a big difference in last night's victory.
The Lady Bulldogs' five starters for the game all scored between seven and 10 points and their top reserve contributed nine more. That compared with three Lady Hornets combining for all except two of CHS' points.
Leading former Southwest Livingston girls' coach Brian Upton's first THS team in scoring was Cassidy Cotton with 10 points. Right on her heels were four teammates – starters Megan Sole, Avery Whitaker, and Makaila Capeder and backup McKinley Hurley – with nine each. All of sophomore M. Hurley's came on 3-pointers, accounting for half of her team's total of six 3s. Tacking on the other six THS tallies was Scotlin Hurley.
Page 2 of 2 - Chillicothe had not one, not two, but three scorers who matched or surpassed Trenton's leading points producer. Senior guard Madison Williams, seemingly having finally rediscovered her outside shooting touch of previous seasons, had a game-high 18 points, including three treys. Erin Gilliland had her second double-digits game in a row with 11, including three trifectas, and Maggie Graves, CHS' top scorer on the season, never got really untracked, but still managed 10.
However, the only other points CHS got were on Mackenzie Barnett's third-period jumper.
Chillicothe’s girls and boys have the rest of the week off from game competition. Their next contests will be in the Cameron Invitational Tournament next week. The girls will rematch with Kearney, which handled them by more than 30 last week, next Monday, Jan. 21, at 5:30 p.m, while the boys go against the host Dragons in the first round next Tuesday at 7 p.m.