Hornet Comeback One For the Ages
Those in attendance in Lathrop to watch the Class 3, District 16 semi-final game between the Trenton Bulldogs and the Hamilton Hornets saw one of the greatest comebacks in high school basketball history.
Much like the KCI Conference game Penney played against the Lawson Cardinals on February 3rd, where they came close to overcoming a 23 point 4th quarter deficit, the Hornets got down big in the first half, trailing 22-7 after the first quarter and 42-17 at the half to Trenton. But unlike the Lawson game, this come back did not fall short.
Hamilton's 1-2-2 full court trapping defense got things started in the 3rd quarter, and the lid that appeared to be on the basket the first half seemingly vanished. Penney would score the first 16 points in the 3rd period before the Bulldogs scored their first points of the second half with less than 4 minutes to go in the quarter. By the time the 4th quarter started, the Hornets had cut the deficit to eight, 56-48.
Hamilton tied the score at 56 within 2 minutes of the final quarter. Trenton would take a 58-56 lead before Cale Whitt tied the score at 58 with a field goal and 5:28 on the game clock. With 5:10 to go, Richman hit two free throws, giving Penney a 60-58 advantage. The Bulldogs came back to tie the score at 60 before Wes Pratt put the Hornets up for good with a field goal and a score of 62-60 at the 4:03 mark. Trenton cut their deficit to one with a free throw, but Latroy Harper made a 3-pointer with 3:17 on the clock to extend Hamilton's lead to four, 65-61. After a free throw by Richman, the Bulldogs narrowed the gap to 66-63 before Trenton was called for an intentional foul. Another free throw by Richman with 49 seconds to go gave Penney a 67-63 lead and the ball. Richman would extend the lead to 68-63 with another free throw. With 23 seconds left on the game clock, Harper would hit 2 free shots for a 70-63 advantage. The final points of the game came on a steal by Harper who dribbled ahead of the defense for a huge dunk, putting an exclamation point on a 72-63 victory, and a trip to the District Championship game against the Maryville Spoofhounds.
Richman led the Hornets with 25 points, including one 3-pointer and 8 of 12 free throws, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 blocked shot and took 3 charges. Harper made 2 treys and 4 of 6 free throws on his way to an 18 point night, rebounded the ball 8 times, led the team in assists with 5, steals with 3, and deflections with 3, plus blocked 1 shot. Whitt was next with 12 points on 3 for 6 from the field and 6 of 9 from the free throw line, and rebounded the ball 5 times. Andy Ernat came off the bench to add 7 points and 2 rebounds. Wes Pratt scored 6 points on a 3 for 4 from the field night, and rebounded the ball twice. Derek Dixon completed the scoring with 4 points, including 2 for 3 on free throws, grabbed 4 rebounds, stole the ball twice, assisted on 1 bucket, and deflected the ball once. Logan Potts and Thane Ward also saw limited action. Hamilton made three 3's, 21 of 31 free throws, handed out 9 assists, stole the ball 7 times, blocked 2 shots, and turned the ball over just 9 times. Coach Rick Ross and his Hornets improved to 22-5 on the season.