By CEDRIQUE FLEMMING
HULBERT — Mason Fielden made two free throws in the final 10 seconds to lead the Hulbert boys to a 52-51 triumph over Vian Thursday night at Rider Fieldhouse.
The Riders led 41-33 after the third quarter, but the Wolverines used a 16-6 run in the first 4:23 of the fourth quarter to take their first lead of the second half.
Vian held a 51-50 lead at 3:09, and neither team scored again until Fielden’s first freebie with 9.9 seconds to play tied the contest. He missed the second, but got his own rebound and was fouled by Zac Vickers with 6.7 ticks left on the clock.
Fielden missed the first free throw, but he swished the second to put his team ahead. Vian called timeout to draw up a play, but a buzzer beater by Eric Casey would not fall as the Riders collected the win.
“I just told myself to ignore the crowd, follow through and bend my knees,” Fielden said of his game-winning free throw. “Once I got fouled that second time, I knew we were going to win.”
Fielden finished the contest with 13 points.
Hulbert’s Craig Potts led all scorers with 17, and he also added eight rebounds. Parker Taylor scored 11 and Chris Vance contributed 10 for the home side.
Hulbert (7-2) shot 46 percent from the field (21 of 46) and made 2 of 8 from downtown.
“We’ve been really focused on team play over these last few games, and the work ethic is getting to where it needs to be,” Hulbert coach Darron McCord said. “We showed a lot of toughness tonight to be able to keep our composure when Vian took the lead late.”
Casey and Shane Ross both scored 14 to pace the visitors. Vian shot 36 percent from the field (20 of 55) and just 21 percent from 3-point territory (4 of 19).
The Wolverines held a narrow 17-15 edge after the first quarter, but Hulbert took 31-26 lead into intermission.
Vian 50, Hulbert 46 (girls)
The Vian girls outscored Hulbert 10-1 in the fourth quarter to come from behind and defeat the Lady Riders 50-46 at Rider Fieldhouse.
Vian started off strong to take a 22-8 lead after the first quarter, but the middle quarters saw the home side outscore the Wolverines 37-18.
“We could have quit after that first quarter when we fell behind by 12 points,” Hulbert coach Rick Ott said. “We held them to five in the second quarter and were able to get back into the contest.”
Hulbert held a 45-40 edge after three frames, but the Lady Riders’ starting five combined to play all but two minutes in the entire contest, and the fatigue showed in the fourth quarter as they were unable to find any offensive rhythm.
The Lady Riders turned the ball over 13 times in the fourth quarter alone, while shooting 0 of 4 from the field and just 1 of 5 from the free-throw line.
“We showed tonight that we are definitely not out of shape,” Ott said. “The girls played hard to the finish, and I’m so proud of them for their effort tonight.”
The loss by Hulbert (7-2) squandered two incredible performances from Lindsay Krueger and Allison Arnall. Krueger finished the game with 31 points on 15 of 21 shooting, and she also pulled down 12 rebounds. Arnall, finishing just shy of a triple-double, recorded 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Hulbert shot 48 percent from the field (20 of 42) overall and held Vian to just 37-percent shooting (21 of 57). The home team also outrebounded the visitors 40-27. The Wolverines hit five more three’s (six to one) and also won the turnover battle 12 to 29.
“We will get more out of that ball game then some of those 20-25 point victories that we’ve had,” Ott said. “We grew up a little bit tonight.”
Jennifer Hunter led Vian (2-1) with 14 points, and Erica Casey added 10.