Hillcrest High School’s missing piece this season has been a big man in the middle.
Now that senior Jonah Hill has arrived, things could be different.
His impact was difficult to ignore Friday in the consolation semifinals of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions at JQH Arena.
Hill, who chose not to go out for basketball at the start of the season but recently changed his mind, wreaked havoc on the boards on both ends of the floor and clogged up the lane on defense as the Hornets ran away with a 76-49 win over Plano (Texas) Prestonwood Christian.
“Jonah Hill was really good,” Hillcrest coach John Schaefer said. “It’s really nice to have a post player again. He had a great game for just coming back and not really being in good shape.
“But with that, you can tell, things are going to be good in the future.”
Hillcrest (12-4) started sluggish and trailed 21-17 after the first quarter, but the Hornets found their stride in the second quarter, outscoring the Lions 25-5 to take a 42-26 halftime lead.
Senior Austin Petry had 13 of his game-high 20 points in the first half and made 3 of 4 from beyond the arc in the victory.
Hill had seven points during the key run and finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
“I love getting rebounds more than anything,” said Hill, who is still solid in his commitment to play football for Arkansas State in the fall. “I would rather get a rebound than make a layup. I want to come in and get rebounds; I pride myself in that.”
Hillcrest will play Mount Washington (Ky.) Bullitt East today for fifth place at 5 p.m. at JQH Arena.
Bullitt East (Ky.) 68, Little Rock (Ark.) Hall 58
Kentucky signee Derek Willis won his matchup with another future Southeastern Conference big man as Mount Washington (Ky.) Bullitt East held off Little Rock (Ark.).
Willis finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, six assists and six blocked shots as the Chargers opened the second half with a 7-0 run to break a 31-31 halftime tie.
He also helped hold Hall’s Arkansas signee, Bobby Portis, to three first-half points, though the 6-foot-10 senior finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.
“I thought we both played pretty well,” Willis said. “I haven’t played a guy like that who can match up with me, and that made it tough.”
Bullitt East (16-4) shot 64 percent from the floor. Elliott Young led the Chargers with 20 points. Javon Perry had 12 points for Hall (10-5).