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HAMBURG, NY – The Hilbert College men’s basketball team captured their first ever 20-win season, and their first ever regular season championship (#1 seed) after they defeated La Roche College 79-75 in overtime February 16. The Hawks held a 34-27 half time lead and held on for a 67-67 regulation tie before they went six for six at the foul line in overtime to clinch the right to host the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship weekend February 22 and 23.
Prior to the start of the game, Hilbert honored their three seniors, Isaac Bushey, Anthony Hodge and Dan McFarland, for their efforts and contributions to the program.
Anthony Hodge led six Hilbert scorers with 23 points, 5 assists and 3 steals, all game highs. Trevor Stark was 7 for 9 from the floor, hitting key 3-point shots down the stretch to finish with 20 points. Dan McFarland was credited with 2 steals which inched him closer to the career leader and he finished with 4 assists while going 4 for 5 from the foul line. La Roche had five players reach double-digit scoring and they all fell between 11 through 13 points. Joel McIntosh led with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Hilbert jumped out on top early in the first half and never relinquished the lead. Stark’s 3-point shot at 6:08 gave the Hawks a double digit lead (28-17) and forced a La Roche timeout. Bushey’s tip-in gave Hilbert a 13-point lead and they carried that to half time. The Hawks made 13 of 33 from the floor (42.4%) and held the RedHawks to 36.7% shooting. Hilbert’s Jerame Owens cleaned the offensive glass for 4 boards while he and McFarland led with 5 rebounds apiece. La Roche held a 20-19 advantage off the glass but turned the ball over 10 times.
After the break, Hilbert build a 10-point lead after Owens hit both foul shots at 12:46. La Roche crept back into the game by outrebounding Hilbert in the second half by 17 boards (31-14).
Derek Barber-Richards forced the first tie of the game with his layup at 2:03. Owens converted a bucket off a Stark assist before David Jackson forced another knot at 65-65. McFarland’s two free throws put the Hawks up again and Barber-Richards forced overtime with 0:35 remaining after pulling down an offensive board and scoring on the put back. Hilbert had the last look at the hoop after an inbounds play in front of their bench, but the shot was well defended and the five minute period followed.
Owens fouled out of the game with 4:42 left and his replacement, Ryan Brewster, came up big down the stretch. La Roche split the shots at the foul line which gave them a 68-67 advantage. McFarland came up with a sweet move towards the foul line, spin and drop step for an easy lay-up to regain the lead for the home team which sent the crowd into a frenzy. That was short lived, because Barber-Richards hit a long 3-pointer 13 seconds later. Hilbert’s Hodge found the bottom of the net before Bushey grabbed a rare rebound. He was fouled immediately and he sank both shots to give the Hawks the lead back at 2:46.
La Roche’s David Jackson secured an offensive rebound, missed his shot, grabbed a second board then scored to force the 5th tie of the long game at 1:20. Hodge came up with almost the same penetration to the paint, high release for a lay-up to sway the score back in Hilbert’s favor. La Roche had two shots their next position and missed them both before Brewster grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He calmly sank both shots building the lead back to 4 points. La Roche hit again before Stark finished the day with two more charity stripe scores.
The typical court storming occurred after the final horn and the Hawks on the bench sprinted to mid-court as fast as the fans to get in the celebration.
The AMCC first round games begin Tuesday, February 19th. Penn State Behrend (#3) will host Pitt Bradford (#6) and Medaille (#4) will host Mount Aloysius (#5). The winners of those game will travel to Hamburg February 22 and square off against Hilbert (#1) and La Roche (#2) February 22. The Hawks will face the winner of the 4/5 game (6pm) and La Roche plays the winner of 3/6 (8pm). The championship game will be Saturday, February 23 at 3pm.
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