Hillcrest avenged last seasons semi-final loss to Park Christian with a 74-64 thriller at Concordia College on Saturday, February 28.
Jumping to a quick ten point lead, the Comets took control of the game and never looked back. Shooting 52% from the floor, Hillcrest seemed to make nearly every shot they took. A last second loose-ball-turn-around-jumper from Chris Tungseth to end the first half was evidence that Hillcrest was having an on-night shooting. "The first half we did an excellent job of offensive execution and our defensive help and on-ball pressure was very good. Chris Tungseth played another tremendous game. He made good decisions with the ball, hit big shots and rebounded well," noted Comet Coach Gregg Preston.
The Comets took their 35-22 lead into the second half and found the Falcons ready to play. The final eighteen minutes nearly looked like a different game. Park Christian executed time and again, battling back from their deficit to bring the game within two baskets with three minutes to play.
Preston recalled, "Like many of our games this year, the players that came off the bench contributed in big ways to knock off PCS. The first half, Ben Herzog scored 9 of his 11 points and the second half, Tommy Thompson drained three big three pointers to add 9 second half points. In addition, Kyler Newman scored 8 points off the bench. We built a 17 point lead in the second half and Park came back to within four with 3 minutes left."
As Hillcrest faced the final minutes the game looked to teeter in Park Christian's favor. However, a hard earned layup by Kyler Newman, rendering a few bruises and a trip to the free throw line, gave Hillcrest a spark. The Comets again took charge, increasing the lead to 10, and never looked back.
Chris Tungseth took the torch for the Comets, leading with 17 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Jacob Isaac added 16 points and 9 rebounds while Ben Herzog provided 11 points and 7 rebounds.
The Comets play top-seeded Waubun on Tuesday night at 6pm at Concordia College in Moorhead for the right to play in the Section 6A championship.