PARK HILLS – It is now eight Central Christmas Tournament titles for the Farmington boys basketball team after it took down top seeded Hillsboro 49-45 on Dec. 30.
The Hawks were looking to extend their unbeaten season and celebrate their first crown since joining the event, but the Knights maintained defensive control to pull off the seeding upset.
Junior Brendon Hardy scored a game-high 19 points for Farmington (9-1), going 5-of-8 from behind the arc. Tycen Gray topped his team in rebounds, grabbing eight along with 14 points.
Hardy opened the second quarter with his second made 3-pointer to give Farmington a 16-9 advantage and force a Hillsboro timeout.
The Knights focused all night on scoring from the low post, as Gray dropped in all of baskets from around the rim, besides one mid-range jump shot.
Gray also put his team ahead 13-9 after beating the first-quarter buzzer on a putback layup, and scored the go-ahead bucket to put his team ahead 45-43 with just 1:22 remaining in the game.
Farmington led 25-22 at halftime even though senior guard Alex England received a technical foul during a scuffle for a loose ball just seconds before the break.
Junior standout Gaven Pinkley had 12 points with eight rebounds for Hillsboro. Michael Brewer and equaled Tyler Isaacson by notching 10 points, and had nine rebounds as well.
Pinkley began taking more shots in the third quarter, answering a 3-pointer from Hardy with one of his own that shrunk the Hillsboro deficit 41-40.
The Hawks took a 42-41 lead two minutes into the final quarter on a fast break layup from junior Austin Fleming.
Hardy and Pinkley traded missed shots from deep while trying to give their teams an edge in the last three minutes.
Hillsboro got back into the game off of six Farmington turnovers in the third period, as Brewer scored three layups in transition.
Interior defense stayed tough for the Knights, however, denying any easy passes or shot attempts within the arc.
With the game being tied 43-43, Farmington played conservatively with the ball in the closing five minutes.
Hillsboro wasted a crucial possession on a turnover while down by two points in the last minute, and resorted to fouling in order to stop the clock.
Both England and Hardy converted all of their late free throw attempts to cap off the victory.
Both sides were firing from long range early. Farmington went 3-of-6 and Hillsboro 1-of-4 in the first four minutes of the third quarter.