News Sports Editor
News Photo by James Andersen
Mio’s Micah Thomey, left, drives by Hillman’s Mason VanPamel (22) and Michael Klein during the second half of a boys basketball game Thursday at Hillman High School.
HILLMAN-It didn't seem to matter much what the Hillman boys basketball team threw defensively at Mio's Micah Thomey on Thursday night.
The Thunderbolts' senior forward simply found all sorts of ways to beat the Tigers.
Thomey scored 23 points, came up with key rebounds, ran Mio's offense and generally did a little bit of everything during a 52-36 win for Mio at Hillman High School in a battle of two undefeated North Star League teams.
In a game that saw lots of tight defensive play, Mio (4-0, 3-0 NSL) broke open the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Tigers 14-3 in the period to take a 27-16 lead at the half.
Thomey scored six points during the stretch and wasn't afraid to draw contact, driving the lane several times and twisting his way to the hoop for buckets.
"Micah's a four-year guy and he's a real special player. We knew tonight he's averaging over 20 (points) a game," Hillman coach Eric Muszynski said. "I thought early on we did a good job keeping the ball out of his hands, but as the game went on he methodically picked us apart."
A five-point stretch by Ty Jones late in the first quarter helped the Tigers (2-2, 2-1 NSL) take a 13-10 lead at the end of the period, but a three-pointer by Thomey to start the second quarter gave Mio a lead back that they never surrendered.
Jones scored nine points for Hillman and Hunter Fessler and MasonVanPamel led the Tigers with 10 each.
Mio stayed out in front in the third quarter, outscoring Hillman 11-5 as several players came up with key buckets thanks in part to Thomey's directing of Mio's offense.
Mio coach Dennis Kann said his team has been gelling with each game and was pleased to see the Thunderbolts close out the game in the final minutes.
"It's only been a couple of weeks, but we're coming together as a team a little bit better as a team each game and tonight it showed up at the end when Hillman was pressing us all over the place and trapping," Kann said. "I think the kids did a great job responding to that."
Hillman started the fourth quarter with a brief surge, but soon fell behind as Mio found ways around the Tigers' defensive pressure. Thomey and Bryson Devers were especially effective at dishing the ball inside to Mio's post players like Ben Lubitz and Dennis Kann III who came up with shots that helped further ice the game in the final minutes.
Hillman struggled to mount a counter attack in final minutes, making just two field goals over the final 4:47. Muszynski lamented his team's inability to play consistently and said it will hurt the Tigers in key league games if they continue to play that way.
"During the game we put together a couple nice spurts, unfortunately the game is 32 minutes and if we want to keep playing in games like that that are tight, we decide that we only want to play in 5 or 10 minute spurts, it's going to be tough to win games like that," Muszysnki said. "When we decide that we want to turn this leaf over and play 32 minutes of basketball, we'll be against your Mios and Alconas."
Mio's JV defeated Hillman 41-32. Joshua Fox led Mio with 18 points and Brian Watson added nine points. Travis Powers led Hillman with eight points and Josh Reinbold and Kyle Henigan each had seven.
MIO (52): M. Thomey 8 4-4 23; Lubitz 3 0-0 7; Kann 2 2-2 6; Georgieff 3 0-1 6; S. Thomey 2 0-1 4; Devers 1 2-6 4; McGregor 1 0-0 2.
HILLMAN (36): Ross 3 0-0 6; Fessler 3 3-5 10; M. Olschanski 0 0-2 0; VanPamel 4 2-2 10; Jones 3 1-3 9; Zimmer 0 1-2 1; Klein 0 0-1 0.