Prep basketball: Short-handed Hamilton bounced from sectional by Sycamore

WEST CHESTER TWP. — Jaylen Robinson had done major damage to Sycamore for Hamilton almost all Thursday night with spin moves that led to layups, but the Big Blue senior couldn’t connect on the last one.

Robinson’s shot in the last 10 seconds with Hamilton trailing by one went awry. The Aviators connected on two free throws with two seconds to finish off a 47-44 win over the Big Blue in a second-round Division I prep boys basketball sectional game at Lakota West.

“Pain is part of living,” first-year Hamilton coach Kevin Higgins said he told his players after the game. “There really aren’t any words of solace, especially for the seniors. We told them these are the experiences that will shape your lives.”


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Robinson and classmate Payton Pennington played their final games for Hamilton (13-10), whose last regular-season game was the finale for senior D’Marco Howard. He was not listed on the Big Blue roster for Thursday’s contest.

Hamilton athletic director Todd Grimm offered no comment when asked about Howard’s absence. The senior ranked third in the Greater Miami Conference with an average of 18.7 points per game and first with an average of 2.6 steals per game and was coming off a 27-point performance in Hamilton’s win over 78-51 win over Lakota West in the regular-season finale.

He came off the bench to tie for game-high honors with 16 points in Hamilton’s regular-season game against Sycamore, a 45-44 loss on Jan. 18 at HHS.

“They were very similar,” Higgins said about the two games against the GMC rival.

Sixteenth-seeded Sycamore (12-12) is scheduled to play 10th-seeded Elder in a district semifinal Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hamilton. The Panthers upset fourth-seeded Oak Hills 43-41 in overtime Thursday night before a standing-room-only crowd at HHS.

Robimson scored a game-high 17 points for the Big Blue, including a 3-pointer to tie the score at 39 with 5:22 left in the game and two free throws to cut the Aviators’ lead to 43-41 with 1:54 remaining. Pennington followed with a 3-pointer for a 44-43 lead with 1:15 left, but Cort Kramer grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in to give Sycamore the lead at 45-44 with 18.2 seconds left in the game.

Kramer finished the game with two rebounds, both of them offensive that he turned into his only four points of the night.

Hamilton, which hasn’t won a tournament game since a 64-44 win over Talawanda on Feb. 20, 2016, outrebounded Sycamore 28-23, but the Aviators were able to maintain their composure in the face of the Big Blue’s withering man-to-man defense, committing just 10 turnovers, two fewer than Hamilton.

Sophomore Kurtis Reid, who went scoreless over 14 minutes in the first game against Sycamore, scored six points and junior Trey Robinson five to help Hamilton take a 15-9 lead into the second quarter.

The Big Blue went 0-for-14 from the field in the second quarter, including 0-for-6 on 3-pointers, and didn’t score until Jaylen Robinson sank a free throw with 48.7 seconds left in the half. Sycamore capitalized on the slump with a 10-0 run to open the quarter, good for a 19-16 lead at halftime.

“We had a really bad second quarter and we couldn’t recover,” Higgins said. “There were some layups we probably should’ve made. We just didn’t finish.”

Sycamore 9-10-20-8—47

Hamilton 15-1-18-10—44

SYCAMORE (12-12): Cort Kramer 2 0 4; Oliver Wittenbaum 2 0 4; Chauncey Grandison 2 1 5; Andrew Fehr 1 0 3; Ben Yuskewich 5 3 15; Jeremy Wittenbaum 1 0 3; Davis NiBlack 2 5 9; Justin Williams 0 1 1; Matt Bolger 1 1 3. Totals: 16-11-47

HAMILTON (13-10): Payton Pennington 2 0 6; Trey Robinson 4 2 10; Kurtis Reid 3 1 9; Jaylen Robinson 6 4 17; Ke’Von Burnett 1 0 2. Totals: 16-7-44

3-pointers: S 4 (Yuskewich 2, Fehr, J. Wittenbaum), H 5 (Pennington 2, Reid 2, J. Robinson)

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