Late Fumble: Hawks give up 11-point lead, fall to Cubs

JEWELL – Matt Hislop took two dribbles and laid up a soft floater from the left block. It bounced once off the back of the rim, once of the front of the rim and once off the side before it eventually fell through the hoop.

Hislop gave a half-smile as he turned away from the bucket. He thought it was going to be his night.

The entire South Hamilton boys’ basketball team felt the same way.

Hislop’s basket gave the Hawks a 41-30 lead on Heart of Iowa Conference leader Nevada with 5:05 left last night on Coach Jim Marsh Court, but in the blink of an eye it all disappeared.

The Cubs caught fire at both ends of the floor and ended the contest on a 19-6 run over the final 5 minutes and change to steal one from South Hamilton, 49-47.

“Our team played great for three quarters and the guys put themselves in position to win,” South Hamilton head coach B.J. Terrones said. “I’m not one for moral victories because that was one that we let slip away, but this is a learning experience for the players.”

Colynn Black cashed in on a pair of 3-pointers during the game-winning spurt for Nevada (9-1, 9-0 HOIC), and Tate Handsaker scored seven points in the closing 2:19 to help send the Hawk crowd home mumbling under its breath.

Handsaker finished with a team-best 13 points, and Black, Owen Shawgo and Zack Anderson all chipped in 10.

A traditional 3-point play from Shawgo with 1:16 remaining gave the Cubs their first lead of the game, and a pair of free throws from Handsaker extended their advantage to 48-45 with 30 seconds left.

The Hawks were unable to answer on their next trip down the floor, and Brook Thompson iced the game for Nevada with a free throw with 11.5 ticks to go.

“The last two minutes, we just need to guard,” Terrones said. “That’s what we need to focus on.

“We’ve got a really tough schedule here – we play nine games in 18 days – so we don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves. We have some good games and good opponents coming up that we have to get ready for.”

South Hamilton (6-4, 6-3 HOIC) was unselfish and efficient through the opening three quarters – key to its 36-25 cushion leading up to the final 8 minutes.

The Hawks were in front 10-4 after the initial period and 24-15 at halftime.

“I think we stayed within the flow and didn’t try to do too much in the first three quarters,” Terrones said. “The guys did a great job of keeping everyone involved.”

John Hegland scored 10 of his team-best 14 points in the first half, while Hislop scored seven of his 12 over the last 16 minutes. Justin Shepherd chipped in seven points, while Josh Doering and Lucas Olson both had five.