ARNOLD -- Central boys basketball coach Drew Church summed up his team's 63-51 loss to Hillsboro in the semifinals of the MSHSAA Class 5 District 1 Tournament with one sentence.
"They hit some shots and we did not," Church said after the game Wednesday night at Fox High School. "Shots that we usually make just did not go in tonight. You have nights like that in this game."
When they come at this time of the year, it is time to turn in the uniforms.
"The tough thing is that when you aren't making shots, other things get magnified," Church said. "But you have to give Hillsboro a lot of credit. They had a good game plan tonight, and they made some big shots."
The game was much closer than the final score indicates, as the Tigers came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to cut the lead to one point on a couple of occasions. They trailed by just two with 4 minutes to play.
Hillsboro's Adam Ethier hit a big 3-pointer to extend the Hawks' lead to five points. And Hillsboro iced the game by hitting nine fourth-quarter free throws.
The second-seeded Hawks will play top-seeded Jackson for the district title Friday night at 7:30.
Hillsboro got a big boost from sophomore Kevin Kramer against the Tigers. He came off the bench to hit three consecutive 3-pointers in the second quarter to help Hillsboro come back from an early five-point deficit to lead 29-20 at half.
Point guard Kerry Walker kept the Tigers in the game by scoring 13 points in the third quarter. Ten of them came in the first 4 minutes as Central cut a 31-20 deficit to 34-33. But the Tigers were never able to take the lead.
Walker finished with a game-high 26 points for the Tigers, 19 of them coming in the second half. George Hamilton added 10.
Ethier had 22 to pace the Hawks. Kramer added 11.
Hillsboro 63, Central 51
CENTRAL (51) -- Kerry Walker 26, George Hamilton 10, Garrett Pannier 7, Derek Walker 3, Tyler Terry 3, Chase Johnson 2. FG 18, FT 11-18, F 18. (3-pointers: Pannier 2, K. Walker 2. Fouled out: Pannier).
HILLSBORO (63) -- Adam Ethier 22, Kevin Kramer 11, Jeff Foster 9, Casey Pochon 7, Seth Swafford 6, Brandon Glore 4, Mario Brontoli 2, Cody Foster 2. FG 18, FT 18-29, F 14. (3-pointers: Ethier 4, Kramer 3. Fouled out: none).