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Sports News

Hornets sting HCA with last minute 3-pointer

By Warren Arceneaux, American Press

Brayden Richard drained a 3-pointer with 48 seconds left to give Grand Lake a 57-54 win over Hamilton Christian Tuesday night, Feb. 4, and control of the District 4-1A race.

Richard’s basket from the right corner put Grand Lake ahead 56-54. Hornets forward Eli Fountain made a steal on the ensuing Hamilton possession. After a missed Grand Lake free throw, Hamilton had two shots near the basket but couldn’t get either to drop.

Aaron Young made a free throw with 0.8 seconds left to put Grand Lake (24-1, 11-0) ahead by three and Hamilton’s heave from halfcourt at the buzzer missed to give the Hornets a crucial road win.

The Hornets own a two-game lead over Hamilton (20-6, 9-2) with three district games remaining. One more win will give the Hornets a share of the district title. Two wins will give Grand Lake its first outright district title as a 1A school.

Richard’s basket capped a back-and-forth second half that featured seven lead changes. Neither team led by more than four points in the second half.

Hamilton appeared to catch a break in the first half when Hornets guard Luke McCardle was called for his third foul, but the Hornets responded with a 10-3 run to take a five-point lead late in the half.

“That’s kind of what the team is built for, we basically have seven starters,” said Hornets head coach Mark Caldwell. “We feel confident in the seven guys that we usually stick with and it was a team effort. Its been like that all year; we have seven guys, usually between seven and 15 points every night.

“I’m proud of them. We didn’t make our free throws late, but we had some experienced players making big shots. They have great players and we do too. It was a matter of players making plays at the end. It is huge step for us to get past the hump; they have been beating us for years.”

Richard and McCardle each scored 14 each to lead the Hornets. Luke Thomas added 13 and Kael Delcambre scored 10.

Adrian Brown led Hamilton with 20 points, including 15 in the second half and nine straight on consecutive 3-pointers in the first 2 minutes in the third that gave Hamilton its largest lead at 36-32. The Warriors sputtered the rest of the way, producing 18 points over the last 14 minutes.

“We didn’t play well offensively,” said Hamilton head coach Dexter Washington. “Adrian shot the ball well and (reserve Mason Russell, who scored eight points) played well, but we struggled.

"(Richard) hit a big shot. I don’t know how we lost him. It’s their time. Coach Caldwell has worked hard and did a great job bringing older kids into the team.

“But I’m pleased with my team. We’re trying to win a state championship and still have five games to go.”

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