Hillsborough will not play for the Somerset County boys basketball championship after losing a heartbreaker Saturday against Ridge High School.
The Somerset semifinals was the first time the rivals met this season, and the game was a low-scoring affair with Ridge winning 39-32. The hallmarks of both teams are their tenacious defenses.
Hillsborough was led by the powerful Matt Hornich, whose strength and height affected Ridge's inside game. He was also the game's high scorer, putting in 13 points. Jalen Parham would add 8 points for the Raiders.
"Our key was to have the ball inside the paint," said Ridge coach Brian Feath. "These were two great defensive teams. Our focus was to just attack, attack, attack."
Ridge big man Hugh Morris had a big night, coming to life in the fourth quarter when he scored 8 of his 11 points. Saddled with four fouls, Morris would sit for the third quarter.
"For me, I need to see the ball go in to get my confidence going," said Morris. "In the fourth quarter, I was able to get one or two to go down, and I felt they could keep going to me. That was big."
Feath said, "In the second half, we kept our composure, we made good decisions, we didn't force things. We went up 16-6, and we kind of lost our heads for a little while and they made their run, they switched up their defenses a little bit. Hillsborough is a phenomenal team, they are well coached. We knew they were going to make a run at us, they are too good not to."