Hill’s 29 lifts Golden Knights past Quakers
Davion Hill drove to the bucket like he was rushing through a hole on the football field. He planted his foot and hit a layup to end a 19-0 Millville run to open the third quarter. David Hill dropped four 3s, all at the right times, to fire up his squad, his biggest one coming with 1 minute, 13 seconds to go in the game. The Golden Knights claimed the first win for head coach Joe Clark in its home-opening 67-62 win over returning District 4 Class AA champion Millville on Tuesday.
The Hill brothers shined in a matchup of the two teams that shared the Mid-Penn League title last year.
David dropped 30 on the Quakers from the outside and Davion powered through in the paint for 29 to combine for 59 of St. John Neumann’s 62 points on the night and Josiah Reed finished with eight points.
“Those two guys love the game and they have a never-lose attitude and it doesn’t surprise me that they (play) like that. I am really proud of them.” Clark said.
Clark was all smiles coming out of the locker room to the tune of his guys getting used to his new style.
“We’ve changed everything. Nothing is the same as we did last year, we are trying to change the culture and the kids are buying in. All good things take time and I believe it will all work out.” Clark said.
Tied at 14 after a slow moving first quarter, Clark amped up his tone to challenge his guys to play faster and put pressure on Millville to keep up. The Golden Knights came back with a 23-point second quarter and David Hill capped the half with a running three at the buzzer to go into the locker room with a 37-24 lead.
“Last game I had a bad game, had a lot of mistakes. This game my teammates kept me up and we finished strong. I’m happy with the way we played. We brought a lot of energy into the game. We are slowly picking things up and we will be getting better from here.” Hill said.
St. John Neumann is battling through the growing pains of a new playbook which Clark knows will happen. He just wants his guys being consistent until they feel comfortable. The inconsistency showed in the third quarter as Millville picked up its tempo and the Knights put too much tempo into their game and rushed a little bit more every time a Quaker basket was made. Millville came out hot in the third quarter with 19 straight points before Davion Hill put in a layup and put some life into the quieted home crowd.
“We came out flat in the second half. We had the big lead and thought ‘this is ours,’ but against a team like (Millville) that is not the case.” Clark said, “We needed to meet their intensity and stop their runs. Our bench came up big and helped tighten things up defensively to get our offense going in transition.”
Coming off his 37-point varsity debut, Hill wants to make his presence felt and establish his style of play for coach Clark’s squad.
“I’m the young guy, so everyone thinks they can bully me around. So I always have to give it my all and play hard.” Hill said. “I take a lot of pride in my play, we made some mistakes, but came back and we had to tough it out at the end.”
Hill’s physical mentality in the paint allowed the Golden Knights to fight back and keep the game from getting out of hand in the third quarter escaping with just a six-point deficit. He continued to drive through the lane to open the fourth quarter until his game-tying (49-49) layup with five minutes to play. Those moves opened up the perimeter for David to take over and drop his game clinching three.
“We have a long way to go, we need to tighten up on defense and we have to have more consistent pressure.” Clark said of Millville’s third quarter behind Will Holdren’s 11 of 31 total points coming in the frame. “We have to push the ball on fast-breaks and rebounds. We want to be up-tempo on both ways, but also understand when to slow things down when we get behind and find the right sets instead of getting anxious.” Clark said.
The Knights will look to keep the momentum going with another Mid-Penn match up, Thursday, against Bucktail. “We are still learning the game and how to play. I am not concerned with anything yet. We will get to where we want to be over time.” Clark said.
St. John Neumann 67, Millville 62
Cam Laubach 2 0-0 6; Blake Evans 4 2-3 10; Owen Reichner 1 0-0 3; Eli Klinger 2 1-4 5; Will Holdren 8 11-17 31; Gage Michael 4 1-2 9. Totals 21 15-26 62.
Davion Hill 11 7-8 29; Josiah Reed 3 0-0 8; Keon Burkholder 0 0-4 0; David Hill 13 0-3 30; Naaman Amos 0 0-2 0. Totals 27 7-17 67.
Millville 14 10 25 13–62
St. John Neumann 14 23 6 24–67
3-point goals: M 5 (Laubach 2, Holdren 2, Reichner 1), SJN 6 (David Hill 4, Davion Hill 2).
JV score: Millville, 46-33. High scorer: Kane Wright, SJN, 9.
Records: St. John Neumann (1-1). Next game: Bucktail at St. John Neumann, Thursday, 7:30 p.m.