The Times file photo by Aaron Snyder
Hamilton Southeastern’s 7-foot center Mabor Majek attacks the rim against Noblesville’s Eagan Keever-Hill (right) and Zack Johnson (left) during the regular season matchup between HSE and Noblesville earlier this year. Noblesville’s leading scorer Zack Johnson — who averaged 16 points per game this season — was held scoreless until the final minutes of the third quarter during the Millers’ 47-41 loss on Friday night in Carmel.
The Times file photo by Aaron Snyder Hamilton Southeastern’s 7-foot center Mabor Majek attacks the rim against Noblesville’s Eagan Keever-Hill (right) and Zack Johnson (left) during the regular season matchup between HSE and Noblesville earlier this year. Noblesville’s leading scorer Zack Johnson — who averaged 16 points per game this season — was held scoreless until the final minutes of the third quarter during the Millers’ 47-41 loss on Friday night in Carmel.

The Noblesville Millers (13-11) took on the Hamilton Southeastern Royals (16-8) in the second round of sectional play on Friday night in Carmel. The Millers just wouldn’t go away on Friday despite the fact that Hamilton Southeastern seemed to have an edge from the outset, but they were eventually defeated 47-41.

The Royals were the first on the board on a three from senior Noah Smith, but Noblesville’s Xavier Hines quickly answered with a two of his own.
Noblesville’s offense started off slowly—with three minutes left in the first, Hamilton Southeastern had built an 8-2 lead. Luckily for the Millers, the Royals committed several turnovers in the opening minutes and kept Noblesville in the game.

By the end of the first, Noblesville had closed the gap and trailed by just one point: 8-7. Xavier Hines and Alex Hunt accounted for all seven of the Millers’ points in the first quarter. But the Royals would have to play the rest of the game without one of their more talented guards, senior Noah Smith, who was injured midway through the first quarter.

In the second, the Royals scored two quick, back-to-back buckets and Noblesville’s Zack Johnson’s shooting woes continued from the first quarter—Johnson didn’t score at all during the first two quarters. After the two quick buckets from HSE, both teams had trouble scoring for the better part of the rest of the second quarter.

In the first six minutes of the second, the Royals had outscored Noblesville 5-0. With two minutes left, HSE hit a big three to continue to now 7-0 run. Luckily for the Millers Alex Hunt answered with a three-pointer of his own, but that shot was immediately matched by Southeastern’s Vinny Buccilla. By the end of the first half, Hamilton Southeastern was on top 18-11.

In the third quarter both teams seemed to be heating up from behind the three point line. With five minutes left in the third, Noblesville’s Jordan Schmidt made back-to-back threes, cutting the Royals’ lead to just four points: 24-20. Noblesville’s Zack Johnson finally got himself on the board with just a little over two minutes left in the third quarter after his teammates found him at the top of the paint for an easy, wide-open jump shot. On the very next play Johnson was fouled while driving to the rim, made the basket and missed his ensuing free-throw—brining the Millers back to within two points: 31-29. At the end of the third, Hamilton Southeastern was still on top by three.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Hamilton Southeastern’s Aaron Etherington went on a tear, knocking down multiple threes and extending HSE’s lead to nine points: 38-29. With 4:28 left to play Xavier Hines looked to be coming alive from behind the arc and hit a big three to bring the Millers back within four points. But unfortunately for Noblesville, center Alex Hancock fouled out of the game with just under four minutes left and Alex Hunt was forced to replace him for the remainder of the game.

With 3:29 left, Hamilton Southeastern began to run out the clock, dribbling the ball near half-court for about 45 seconds before finding a wide-open look at the basket. With just under two minutes Zack Johnson scored his eighth point of the night on a drive to the rim that brought the Millers back to four point deficit: 41-37.

With 1:15 remaining Eagan Keever-Hill stole the ball from the Royals — who were passing around to run off clock — and was fouled at the rim. Hill hit both of his free-throws, making it a two point game. On the next possession the Royals’ Chris Grubbs was fouled and made both of his free-throws, but luckily for the Millers they were themselves fouled on their ensuing possession and made both free-throws—making it a two point game with 49 seconds remaining.

On HSE’s next possession Chris Grubbs was fouled at the rim but he missed one of his two free-throws, which kept the Millers within one possession of a tie. With just about 20 seconds left Noblesville’s Xavier Hines spotted up for a game-tying three from the top of the key, but the shot missed long.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, the Royals were on top 47-41.

The Millers end their season with a 13-11 record.

Hamilton Southeastern moves on to the sectional finals and will take on Carmel, who defeated Fishers on Friday. The sectional final will tipoff Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Carmel.