FARMINGTON – Hillsboro received a tremendous boost from Michael Brewer to spur a 19-7 run during the third quarter, and established its first lead against Farmington in the Class 4, District 2 championship game Friday night.
Brewer recorded 12 of his game-high 22 points during the period by frequently powering into the lane, and helped the Hawks secure their second straight title over the Knights in a 68-56 victory.
Hillsboro (24-4) will face Sikeston (25-2) in the Class 4 state sectional round on Tuesday at Farmington Civic Center.
The Hawks earned the crown last year by a one-point differential on its home court, but Farmington (18-10) prevailed 70-59 in their most recent matchup two weeks ago.
Hillsboro looked to a new larger lineup to limit the Knights and shift momentum in the championship triumph.
After trailing 26-17 at halftime, Brewer opened the third quarter with two quick finishes at the rim. Hillsboro spread out its offense to clear congestion on the inside, which allowed for open driving lanes.
Gaven Pinkley captured the initial lead of 30-29 on a pair of free throws with 3:20 remaining in the third. He finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and surpassed 2,000 career points on a late trip to the line.
Pinkley shot 10-of-13 from the stripe, and the Hawks were collectively 23-of-30. The Knights ended 11-of-13 on their chances.
The lead exchanged hands three times late in the third period, but Hillsboro earned the advantage through stingy interior defense and rebounding. Tyler Isaacson contributed eight rebounds as a physical presence.
Brendon Hardy heaved a long pass to a striding Jackson Schrum, who finished a fast-break with layup to beat the third-quarter buzzer and bring Farmington within 36-33. Hardy posted 20 points plus six rebounds, while Tycen Gray tallied 20 points and 11 rebounds.
But point guard Ben Lampkins kept the momentum in favor of Hillsboro by stealing a ball along the perimeter and converting a transition layup 20 seconds into the fourth quarter. He provided 10 points in the win.
Gray brought the score within 41-36 with 6:25 to play on his second 3-pointer, but Lampkins responded with back-to-back daggers from long range on the Hawks' next two possessions.
Farmington began to force up contested 3-pointers midway through the final period with unfavorable results. Gray battled down low to keep the difference near 10 points, but Hillsboro shot 18-of-22 at the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to maintain a sizable edge.
The Knights opened the game with two scoreless minutes of defense. Hardy stretched the early advantage with a lethal jumper, and notched nine straight points for the Knights to highlight a 15-6 lead.
Bryce Sancegraw capped the strong opening period by dribbling the length of the floor on an inbounds pass with 4 seconds to play, and floating around Pinkley to convert a layup at the buzzer for a 17-11 advantage.
Farmington limited Hillsboro early in the second quarter by rotating along the perimeter to force tough shots, but the Hawks stayed close due to consistent rebounding. Brewer fought for position near the rim to record his teams' only six points during the second period.
Hardy ended a nearly four-minute scoring drought for both teams by drilling a contested shot from about four feet beyond the arc, and widened the margin to 26-17 with 1 second on the clock.