HOSCHTON --For the better part of three quarters Tuesday night, Collins Hill's basketball team needed someone to step up offensively and help Devin Mitchell.
In the waning moments of the game, Darius Joell was that guy.
The senior guard hit a clutch, go-ahead 3-pointer off a Mitchell assist with 1:33 left and went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final 42 seconds to seal a 49-44 victory over host Mill Creek in Region 7-AAAAAA play.
"It's an amazing feeling," said Joell, who backed Mitchell with 12 points. "I wanted to beat Mill Creek so bad for what they did to us at our house. I could have cried that night, so it felt real good to get them back."
What happened at Collins Hill's house on Dec. 14 was a 56-53 Mill Creek victory, courtesy of a Trevon Shaw 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Eagles had to endure a potential game-tying 3 from Shaw with six seconds left on Tuesday, but he was forced to double-clutch it by Collins Hill defenders and it missed its mark.
The Hawks fouled Joell again and he hit two clinching free throws with 4.4 seconds left for the final margin. Those shots were big, but maybe not as important as him going 4-for-4 at the line moments earlier on fouls with 42 and 22 seconds left. Both of those trips were one-and-one situations.
"Darius hit that big 3 in the corner and hit the free throws when it counted," Collins Hill boys coach Eric Nathan said. "(Johncarlos Reyes) hit a nice jump hook there in the fourth quarter, too. They did a good job trying to take Devin away and they did for most of the game. But Devin's pretty good. He found a way. And when he wasn't scoring he found that dish to Darius for that big 3."
Despite game-long hounding from Mill Creek defenders, Mitchell got his points and kept Collins Hill (15-7, 9-4 region) out in front despite constant charges from the host. He finished with 25 points on an efficient 10 of 16 shooting night.
The high-scoring junior lifted his team in the second and third quarters, when his teammates shot a combined 0-for-8. When Reyes made his hook shot with 5:07 left in the fourth quarter, it was the first Collins Hill basket by someone other than Mitchell since the middle of the first quarter.
Reyes had six points and eight rebounds, but his major impact was on the defensive end. The 6-foot-8 junior had 10 blocks, five in the first quarter and seven in the first half, which led to Mill Creek shooting 5-for-19 (26.3 percent) in the first two quarters.
"That's on top of all the shots he alters," Nathan said of Reyes' 10 blocks. "He played a great game."
Collins Hill led 26-17 at halftime, thanks in part to Shaw picking up two quick fouls. He played barely more than three minutes in the first half.
But Shaw, who was honored at the game for being the program's first 1,000-point scorer, still finished with 10 points. T.J. Christopher led the Hawks (15-8, 8-6) with 13 points, Elijah Bryant scored eight and Eric Ritland scored seven, all in the first half.
They led a second-half charge that saw three fourth-quarter ties, though the Hawks could never take the lead. Reyes' hook broke the first tie, a Mitchell basket answered the second deadlock and then it was up to Joell and his clutch 3-pointer.
"I had to come through for my team," Joell said. "My coaches had the confidence in me to shoot the ball."
Mill Creek girls 62, Collins Hill 33
Mill Creek got its Senior Night off to a quick start and never slowed up, coasting to a 62-33 win over Collins Hill on Tuesday night.
The Hawks (13-10, 9-5) led 13-3 after a quarter and 25-14 at halftime before a 20-point third quarter extended the lead to a more comfortable margin.
Seniors Nadiya Miller (17 points) and India Dillard (15 points) had big games for Mill Creek, which also got 17 points from sophomore Meredith Schulte. Senior reserve Malayshia George had all five of her points in the decisive first half.
Collins Hill (6-16, 2-11) got 14 points from Brittany Stowers and nine points from Julianne Bayer.