ONTARIO -- Mansfield Senior's Quan Hilory is used to winning free throw contests in practice. The 5-10 senior guard won a game for the Tygers at the line on Saturday night.
Hilory was a perfect eight-for-eight from the line in the fourth quarter as Mansfield Senior (6-1) knocked off Shelby, 50-44, in the third game of the day at the 419 Challenge at Ontario High School.
"We play a free throw game at practice," Hilory said. "You have to make it all net to get positive. If you miss, you go negative. If you make it, you just stay at zero. .. I win most of the time. I take free throws very seriously at practice."
"When I go to the free throw line, that's when I get my rhythm," Hilory said. "When I make a couple, when I see the ball go in, it's free so I got to hit it. I gotta make it ... it's free."
As a team, the Tygers connected on 13 of 14 at the line in the final period after hitting just one of nine from the stripe in the first three quarters.
"We actually work a lot at the free throw line," Mansfield Senior coach Marquis Sykes said. "We put up a lot of shots every day. I think (foul shooting) is one of our issues. Down the stretch, they locked in and were mentally focused and made the shots when they needed to."
32-MINUTE BATTLE: The Tygers and the Whippets (3-4) waged a game-long battle, despite Shelby again missing two starters -- 6-7 senior forward Hunter Hoffman and 6-3 center Nick Amstutz. Both are due back from injuries next week.
The Tygers led 26-19 at halftime before the Whippets slowed the game with a sticky zone and closed to 30-27 with 1:30 left in the third quarter. Mansfield Senior took a 31-27 lead into the fourth quarter.
The trend continued in the fourth quarter and Shelby took its first lead of the game at 40-39 with 2:48 remaining on a basket by senior Uriah Schwemley.
But the Whippets missed five straight FG attempts down the stretch and the Tygers hit nine of 10 from the line, including six from Hilory.
"I am proud of the guys' effort," Shelby coach Troy Schwemley said. "When I looked up and there were two minutes left and we were up one, I liked our chances. We fouled the wrong guy. We fouled Hilory twice. We went from up one to down three because we fouled Hilory 16, 17 feet from the basket.
"In that position, your job is not to steal it. Your job is to keep him in front of you and make him pass it. We just gotta learn from those mistakes. That's the last person we want to foul," Schwemley said.
Sykes was happy to see his senior guard at the line down the stretch. Hilory finished with 19 points and two assists, though he connected on just five of 16 FG tries.
His triple with 3:27 left to play put the Tygers up 39-36 after Shelby had forged its first tie of the game.
"Quan did a little bit of everything for us tonight," Sykes said. "That's what he has done so far this season. For the most part, he has shot the ball well, though he didn't shoot that well tonight. He has rebounded well for us, defended well ... he has been our best all-around player so far."
"We haven't see a whole lot of zone this year," Sykes said. "We kind of figured they would come out in some zones since they are short-handed and our guys just weren't ready for it. We didn't make the right adjustments at halftime. We will get back to the drawing board this week and make sure we get guys in the right spots to make plays to win games."
POSITIVE VIBES: Despite the third straight loss, all of which have come without Hunter and two without Amstutz, Schwemley said he saw positive signs.
"I am definitely proud of the effort. We didn't get on the bus today with the attitude we were going to come down here and lose. I am not into moral victories, but I feel that game could help us just from a mental standpoint to get us back believing in ourselves. I can live with that effort," Schwemley said.
The game could be a preview of a Division II district tournament game.
"That's a really good ballclub," Sykes said of the Whippets. "Even short-handed, they are one of the better teams in the area. I told Troy after the game no one is going to want to see those guys come tournament time.
"I prefer not to play them again," Sykes said with a laugh. "(But) if we do, we will certainly be up for the challenge."
STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: Hilory was the only Mansfield Senior player in double figures. Senior Jakobe Reese added eight, including two of three triples.
Sophomore T.J. Pugh, a 6-6 guard/forward, led Shelby with 13 points and Schwemley added 11.
Mansfield Senior shot 37 percent from the field (16-43) and 61 percent from the line (14-23). Shelby also shot 37 percent from the floor (17-46) and 89 percent from the line (eight of nine).
Shelby had a 32-29 rebounding edge, led by Pugh with 10 and Schwemley with seven. Reese had eight for the Tygers. The Whippets committed 15 turnovers compared to 11 for Mansfield Senior.
UP NEXT: Mansfield Senior is at Wooster next Saturday in an Ohio Cardinal Conference game. Shelby hosts Bellevue next Friday.