AAAAAA boys: Hillgrove 56, Wheeler 54

When Jerron Love’s jumper didn’t fall, the celebration for Hillgrove began.

Kyle Castlin scored 20 points to help the Hawks barely held off No. 7 Wheeler when Love’s shot at the buzzer hit the front of the rim, giving No. 5 Hillgrove a 56-54 win in the Class AAAAAA semifinals.

This will be Hillgrove’s first trip to the state finals. Wheeler failed in its bid for a sixth state title under coach Doug Lipscomb.

The Hawks (27-4) never trailed after a 15-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters gave them a 47-39 lead, but it was certainly close, particularly when Wheeler scored 7 straight to make it 49-48 with 3:23 left.

But Hillgrove had just enough gas in the tank, hitting 5 of 8 free throws, including 1 of 2 from Keith Ray with 6.1 seconds left that set up Love’s final attempt.

On that play, the key for Hillgrove was to protect from a loss at all costs. No threes. No easy baskets.

“Just don’t give up a three,” Hillgrove coach Ed Morris said. “If they go and they score two, worst-case scenario is we go into overtime. Don’t let him make a three to win it. We were fortunate that he stepped up and took a two.”

The long jumper was on line but just short, and there wasn’t enough time for a second attempt for Wheeler (21-9).

Prior to that, Love had another chance to tie the game, standing at the line with 9.3 seconds remaining after being fouled going for a layup.

He missed the first and made the second, and the Wildcats were forced to foul.

The Hawks likely never would have been in that position if not for Castlin, who made three 3-pointers and scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the second half.

A junior small forward, Castlin has emerged as a leader on a team that has only lost four games.

“What I love about him is, he doesn’t force the game; he doesn’t force shots,” Morris said, of Castlin. “He just lets the game come to him.”

His biggest stretch was during the key 15-2 run, when he scored 7 straight Hillgrove points to close the third quarter, sending the game into the fourth quarter tied 39-39.

Elijah Staley had a team-high 13 points for Wheeler. Jordan Sexton came off the bench to add 17 points for the Hawks.

159 comments Add your comment

fan of the game

March 2nd, 2013
8:34 pm

Wheeler didn’t get “upset” in this game. Hillgrove had a better record and was ranked higher. Of course, Wheeler might have the better talent, but it’s young and not fully developed yet. But you cant consider it an upset when the team who got “upset” lost to Cherokee. Don’t get me wrong, Wheeler WILL be a monster next year AND the year after, especially if Giddens can learn a few offensive moves. But Hillgrove was the better team TODAY.

Uuummmmmm

March 2nd, 2013
8:40 pm

It was an upset. Not anything against what you say. I’ve read the blogs where Hillgrove did not play anyone, or how Wheeler played a stronger schedule and national teams. so if anyone claims it was an upset, let your own fans know what you say above. It was there bragging that made this an upset.

Don

March 2nd, 2013
9:12 pm

@ Uuummmmmm,

It is only an upset when a team that was a decided underdog wins. Hillgrove was higher ranked but less appreciated because they do not have the state championships that Wheeler has. What you are describing is making someone eat crow–but not an upset. Good luck in the finals.

uncle clarence

March 2nd, 2013
9:14 pm

congratulate to hillgrove and a special shout out to jordan sexton good game love uncle clarence

rmbuck1

March 2nd, 2013
9:26 pm

@ Don

LOL…..let them eat crow then.

Uuummmmmmm

March 2nd, 2013
9:44 pm

@ Don: I understand what you mean. Just relating to all the post on the blogs over the last few weeks. I read where fans said they are at full tilt after football season and should power over all. I read how they didn’t understand why they were ranked so low after the grueling (and national) schedule they have. I read how the fans said that Hillgrove has not played anyone (including losing 3 times to N. Cobb), and though their record was better they should not be ranked as high as they are. I read, I read and read. So yes the better record and higher rank won. So I guess it was just an upset to all those Wheeler fans that were loud over the last few weeks on the blog. Don’t get me wrong, Wheeler has the better athletes, but are still young and raw, and I believe they will make some noise next year if the team stays put. But tonight the more mature team won, and I’ll just have a little fun.

where greater then you

March 2nd, 2013
9:45 pm

Hillgrove is the better team! Now if it was a Dunking contest or a junk talking contest or how fancy can i check into the game contest then wheeler would have won. Hillgrove should have one that game by 6 or 7. and castlin was the best player on the court on both teams!GGOD

DoogJack

March 2nd, 2013
11:04 pm

To the fan of the game, Giddens has offensive moves, but the Wheeler guards will not pass him the ball. One man is not going to beat any team. Hillgrove’s guard play was better. Each time Giddens got the ball on the inside, he was unstoppable. All in all, a great game.

(black) wheeler parent

March 2nd, 2013
11:09 pm

The better Coached TEAM won the game tonite. Wheeler played a terrible game. They didnt play team ball. Thats the same way Roswell, Walton & Cherokee beat us. Hillgrove must have shot 75% from the 3 point line. I think they hit about 9 3’s. Wheeler hit all of 3. That was the difference. Kyle Castlin WAS not the best

Hawk fan

March 2nd, 2013
11:28 pm

I really enjoyed the game. I thought Hillgrove did control the tempo of the game and was solid on both offense and defense. We handled the pressure of the press well. I think the refs allowed a whole lot of physical play. In the end it was a very exciting and entertaining game.

dsportfan

March 2nd, 2013
11:35 pm

wheeler parent I’m interested in seeing who you THINK was the best player on the floor tonight. Hillgrove hit 75% from the 3-point line because they are patient and passes the ball around to get an OPEN shot.

only a matter of time

March 2nd, 2013
11:53 pm

great game from both teams. either one is a great representative for Cobb County next week in the ’ship. Now, Wheeler should be stacked next year with the group they are bringing back. good luck to the Hawks. not quite done yet. our mission now is to find ways to stifle #11 and #15 in Macon.

@Black

March 3rd, 2013
12:00 am

Black…..same stuff every year…your team lost….excuses, excuses, excuses…

hawk fan

March 3rd, 2013
12:23 am

Great game hawks, team ball wins. Good coaching and hard work from the team. Stay focus

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
12:41 am

@dsportsfan.. Kyle Castlin was the best player on the floor because his TEAMMATES allows him to be. They know who there best player is. On the other hand, Wheeler’s team wont let there best player lead. To many heroes. You seen it with your own eyes. I dont have to tell you who the best player on the court was. You Already know.. Hillgrove played a GREAT team game. The coaching was EXCELLENT. You can tell he did his homework. They beat us just like Roswell & Walton did. shooting 3’s. Our gaurds wasnt smart enough to stop shooting and go to the bigs. If they dont involve Staley & Giddons, THEY WONT WIN… Maybe the will realize that next year.. Good job Hillgrove.. JOB WELL DONE!!

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
12:47 am

@dsportsfan.. Also.. we had open looks at 3’s, hell we just missed.. lol we usually hit about 8 or 9 a game. We also usually have about 10 dunks a game from them sharing the ball. That didnt happen. Hillgrove is the same team as Roswell offensivly. live by the 3.

Where greater then you

March 3rd, 2013
1:03 am

@(black)wheeler #’s don’t lie! Castlin was the best player on the floor he done it from outside inside rebounded helped beat the press, his game is a lot more then dunking! And I agree wheeler lost because of coaching they need a coach that can the parent to sit down and shut up and let these big 6′7 kids trying to be guards and give there team a post presence, sacrifice for the team is what wheeler is missing!GGOD

Where greater then you

March 3rd, 2013
1:05 am

And guess what hillgrove is living! Good luck in AAU your season ended tonight!

Uh uh

March 3rd, 2013
1:09 am

To the ‘wheeler’ parent you must humble yourself at once. You’re no better than the next and it can easily be proven.

black is an idiot

March 3rd, 2013
1:12 am

Dude you are so full of yourself that you can’t see anything. Dude Castlin is a much better play HANDS Down.

BPiits

March 3rd, 2013
1:29 am

Black..u know my boy E is the best player in the junior clas, hands down.

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
3:56 am

Kyle Castlin is good but he was not the best player on the floor. I give him credit. He did his job. His teammates got him the ball to allow him to do his job. he got his average. nothing more or less. Why dont you dudes put your names on here and stop using handles like you talking on a damn CB radio.

@bpits man them College offers let them know who the best player on the floor is.. football and basketball offers…. That kid is a BEAST! I might be full of myself, but IM NOT GONNA BE TO MANY MORE IDIOTS

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
4:02 am

@uh uh what are you talkin about homie? I call it like I see it. I gave Hillgrove props for winning the game. & The Coach for doing a good job.. No need to be mad at me. lol.. and use your name PUNK.. LOL Its a blog what are you scared of???

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
4:02 am

Enter your comments here

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
4:09 am

@where greater then you… dude I dont even know why im responding to you.. you probably played kickball or water polo.. no basketball knowledge what so ever… put your name up and stop being scary! Smh.. coward

James

March 3rd, 2013
5:26 am

This is funny. So “(black) wheeler parent” is not a handle, but your real name then.

Smitty

March 3rd, 2013
8:11 am

Well I thought I would jump into the conversation after reading some of the hilarious (moronic and stupid) comments. 1) Basketball is a TEAM sport…Hillgrove had the better TEAM…period. 2) In high school basketball…coaching and preparing your team is critical…Hillgrove coach did a great job getting his team prepared and kept them focused throughout the game…while the Wheeler coach thought his team would have a walk in the park against Hillgrove…preparation, preparation, preparation. 3) the Hillgrove boys played the game while the Wheeler boys talked trashed…it is unfortunate that the Wheeler players had to repeatedly also be told to put their shirts in their shorts…just a sign that they don’t respect the game…after all this is high school basketball and not street ball…I guess the coach has not taught them that yet 4) the only reason this game ended as close as it did…poor officiating. These refs tonight missed a couple goal tending calls (blocked shots off the glass) and terrible if not some of the worst calls I have witnessed this year in high school basketball. One ref in the game called only one foul against Wheeler the entire night and an uncountable amount against Hillgrove…he turned a blind eye and was clearly out to make it even harder on Hillgrove…go back and watch the game and you will see…rumor has it he had a Wheeler jersey on under his stripes tonight.

All in all it was a very exciting game with the better coached team and better execution coming out victorious. God luck to Hillgrove as they now face Norcross in the finals….it should be a good one to watch.

Walter Paul

March 3rd, 2013
8:29 am

Norcross will decimate Hillgrove.

On the whole, Hillgrove is a small, hard working and overachieving team with one talented guy (small) and a second sort-of-talented guy(small).

That formula won’t cut it against Norcross whose #6-#9 players are better than Hillgrove’s #3-#5 players.

DrJack

March 3rd, 2013
8:42 am

Wheeler needs guards who can utilize their bigs. 3 pts shots were off for Wheeler, and you must make your free throws. Hillgrove won the game (with bad GHSA officials). They were vere patience on offense, played solid team defense, and all 5 players rush to the offensive boards.

Wheeler needs guards–if they don’t get solid guard play next year, the same results will occur.
Guards that push the ball, rotate on defense, play team basketball, and just have “guts”.
No one on Hillgrove couldn’t stop Giddens on the inside. Well, hopefully the Wheeler coaching staff will realize and grow from this game.

Congratulations to Hillgrove.

bigclown

March 3rd, 2013
9:19 am

Drjack you are a clown. Which wheeler guard(s) are you refereeing to. ???????????????????????????????????????

DrJack

March 3rd, 2013
10:01 am

#bigclown : it takes a clown to know one. It is obvious you don’t know basketball nor you don’t follow Wheeler basketball. I only watch a few of their games, and the guard play is horrible.
Now, you go jump into a lake……you CLOWN.

Cousin Josh

March 3rd, 2013
10:03 am

@Walter Paul I totally agree with you. Norcross in a beat-down of epic proportions.

N’s Andre Chatfield is as good offensively as HG’s only go-to guy and N has so many weapons that they don’t even have to rely on Chatfield for point production. Carter and O’Donohue will ravage HG’s undersized front.

And, Doug Lipscomb, shame on you and your staff for robbing us of another Norcross/Wheeler showdown with an inanely massive coaching failure. Did you guys stop at a bar for a few on the way over to the arena?

VChandler

March 3rd, 2013
10:07 am

Good job Hillgrove. Represent for Region 4. I have witnessed superior athletes lose to better coached teams this year. Playoff ball comes down to well coached teams executing in critical situations, although Hillgrove shot too much when they had the ball and almost gave the game away.

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
10:10 am

@james lol everyone except you, knows what Wheeler parent goes by the nick name “black”. Im also a well known as Coach Black. Ive coached football for over 20 years.. nice to meet you. Im at all the games cheering for my son. nice to meet you.

@cousin josh you hit the nail dead on the head.. lol. We have went thru that the whole season. Numerous coaching mistakes and not so good gaurd play.. lol

only a matter of time

March 3rd, 2013
10:24 am

Black Wheeler Parent and Dr. Jack…just stop crying. You throw out these left handed compliments for Hillgrove and then you blame your coach, guards, concession stand workers, janitorial staff, security guards and place blame every where but the “bigs” on your team. You are either #4s parent and if that’s the case you need to work on the mental aspect of the game. He let Hillgrove 6th man get in his head and after that he lost focus. Instead of team concept he just wanted to show everyone how big and bad he was by dunking. Dude should be working on FTs and getting that percentage up. If you’re #14s parent how about working on his hands and footwork down inside. How many times did the guards go down low to the bigs but only to have the bigs get stripped because they aren’t strong. A little more time in the weight room this off season for these “bigs” you’re so fond of. Being tall and getting sholarship offers doesn’t make you the “best” on the court. Playing smart, out working your opponent and keeping your composure in crunch time will have you cutting down the nets in Macon.

Where greater then you

March 3rd, 2013
10:29 am

@(black)wheeler parent take your L like a man and get ready for AAU ball. He was blessed with the size to be a good ball player, time to do your job and teach him how to play the game, he is a 6′7 bball player he needs to be a bball player who happens to b 6′7… Hope you can understand what I mean

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
10:29 am

@smitty you are right about a few things but lets get something strait homie.. dont try to act like our boys dont respect the game because they had to be told to tuck there shirts in. Explain to me why the Hillgrove kid tackled Giddons and then he told our coach that his COACH instructed him to do that. What kind of bs is that to tell a kid. My son knows several kids on the team and they talked last night and told my son that HILLGROVES COACH instructed his players to push and shove and be goons on the court. And you say Wheeler players dont have respect for the Game???? I dont know what game you was watching homie. Hillgrove won the gamesimply because they hit about 9 or 10 3’s & we hit only 3 and missed about 10. Our coaches made a lot of bad choices also. Hillgroves team is no better than ROSWELL AND WALTON… you guys had a good run. If we played yall 10 times we would win 8.. lol Goid luck against Norcross.. you guys will need it. They have better pg play than we do.. lol I tell it like it is homie.

OMacG

March 3rd, 2013
10:32 am

LOL @ Walter Paul and Cuz Josh…your posts are so contradictory that you both must have surely written them for the humor effect.

If not, I guess the score has been reported wrong for the Norcross/North Cobb game. I would expect a Norcross team as good as you say they are to win last night in blow-out fashion. Kinda like Wheeler was supposed to, ya know? Those Hillgrove boys might make it a better game than you predict…there are a heap of Wheeler folks who are scratching their heads this morning.

OMacG

March 3rd, 2013
10:36 am

(black) wheeler parent- were you the dude posting on here last week before the game about how you know all the Hillgrove players and that they’re scared of the Wheeler players…and so Wheeler was gonna smoke them?

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
10:40 am

To the 2 punks who are scared to put there names up… My son does need to work on some things but footwork is not one of them. its PLENTY OF FILM ON MY SON. You should go watch. every kid needs to get stronger. Now on the other hand. Only a punk will try and down a kid! Dont get mad or jealous because he has offers and yours dont! I like haters because the more punks like you hate, the more blessings flow. If you guys are gonna dog a kid, at least be man enough to put your name up. Cowards. We will be ready for AAU. FOOTBALL ALSO. WE HAVE THOSE OFFERS TOO HOMIE!! COWARDS

Where greater then you

March 3rd, 2013
10:43 am

@omacg. Yea that’s him! Instead of saying good game hillgrove the better team tonight won, it’s you guys talked our guys, your coach told the players to be physical, you made 10 three pointers, the didn’t get my boy the ball, it was cold the first time we played and it wasn’t at least 50 degrees outside, your only as good as Roswell ( by the way beat wheeler twice) take your L and your ball and go home. Wheeler does not exist!

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
10:47 am

@Greater then you. I dont think you understand what you are talking about.. lol.. AND if you wanna talk anymore you can email me at coachcamp42@gmail.com so we can meet. I deal with people who wanna dog kids out in person.

Where greater then you

March 3rd, 2013
10:48 am

It’s not the kid! It’s the big mouth parent! The kid is solid! It’s a 2way street, it wasn’t putting down kids when you said you wasn’t I’m pressed, when you said hillgrove kids was scared of your kid as a matter of fact you are the one that hung him out to dry cause you put his name out there not us,, so the way you brag and boast win you dunkin and winning and putting up 30 is the same way you take jabs when you loosing and fouling and on the bench instead do helping your team and barely getting double digits

crimson

March 3rd, 2013
10:50 am

I was at the game last night. The Wheeler players are really talented. Seems like some Wheeler supporters (parents) want to blame the Wheeler guards and coach for not getting the ball down low to the star players. Maybe they couldn’t….Hillgrove was relentless on defense. For much of the game Hillgrove was very patient on offense. The better TEAM did win, but every kid who played in that game should be proud of their efforts, both sides. Hillgrove is not just one player…ask Brunswick about BJ Brown, or Tri Cities about Keith Ray. I hope Hillgrove can do the same against Norcross. IT IS A TEAM SPORT!

Where greater then you

March 3rd, 2013
10:52 am

Tell you what I’m not going to email you cause I know how it would turn out, just so you know I stop fist fighting in college we have other things for that if we meet up somebody not going home, and I think you want to be around to watch your Kidd play nfl football and then go play nba basketball

(black) wheeler parent

March 3rd, 2013
10:59 am

Refer back to my post to @dsportsfan if you think I didnt give Hillgrove there props.

Big fan

March 3rd, 2013
11:00 am

Is it true that John Thompson and Patrick Ewing was at the hillgrove vs wheeler game?

Wheeler fan

March 3rd, 2013
11:05 am

@ big fan I didn’t see them there but that’s big wonder if there looking at one of the players for Georgtown

JohnJ

March 3rd, 2013
11:08 am

I don’t see the Hoyas coming here to scout, plus I think they played sat, and why would pat Ewing be recruiting for georgtown

Big fan

March 3rd, 2013
11:12 am

They said it was John sr and pat Ewing and he thought he heard pat Ewing had a nephew or son that played for wheeler