CLINTON - St. Mary was up at halftime of its boys high school basketball game Thursday night at Hickman County. However, it was just a three-point lead and the Vikings clearly needed a spark to get going.
Once the third quarter started, Wes Averill lit the fuse and Patrick Hubert kept it burning on the way to a 72-61 victory.
Both teams had taken different paths during the holiday tournament circuit. St. Mary split four games during the Carbondale Holiday Tournament, while the Falcons dropped three in a row at the Paducah Holiday Tournament. Viking coach Greg Overstreet knew his team had a tough task at hand where control would be key on several levels.
"We got off to a little bit of a slow start, and Hickman always plays well down here," Overstreet said after the game. "I thought we did a good job of controlling our emotions, got ourselves together, and taking care of business in the second half."
Averill got St. Mary going on that task almost as soon as the third quarter started. He scored two baskets in the first minute of the second half for a 31-24 lead. Ray Shields cut into that lead for Hickman by completing a traditional three-point play. Averill got right back to work with a pair of jumpers for the first double-digit lead of the game. He finished the game with 20 points, impressive for one getting back into the basketball groove.
"He's getting better every game," Overstreet said of Averill. "He didn't play a lot of basketball in the summer and played a lot of golf in the fall. He's catching up and he's going to make the difference for us later in the year."
After Averill made his mark, it was Hubert's turn. He may not have started because of Overstreet's experimenting with different lineups, but he led all scorers with 29 points. Midway through the third, he was fouled and Hickman coach Eric Blalock protested. That drew a technical and Hubert made the four free throws from both fouls for a 41-31 lead.
Late in the period, he made two of his three three-pointers for a 53-40 lead. After scoring 27 points in the first half, the Vikings equaled that output in the third for a 54-44 lead. The Falcons would get to within seven with about two minutes to go, but Viking free throws and the occasional field gold would put it away.
Hickman had several strong performers on offense. With some strong foul shooting, Shields led the way with 15 points. Ryan Harpole and Billy Speed each added 14 points and Harley Hinshaw rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11.
St. Mary 10 27 54 72
Hickman County 13 24 44 61
ST. MARY - P. Hubert 29, Dickens 4, Vaughan 2, Hopper, Averill 20, Smith 3, A. Hubert, Overstreet 8, Eggemeyer 2, Dome' 4.
Field goals 24. 3-pointers 3 (P. Hubert 3). Free throws 21/27. Record 8-4.
HICKMAN - Shields 15, Speed 14, Hinshaw 11, Harpole 14, Newton 7, Bolen.
Field goals 19. 3-pointers 4 (Harpole 3, Speed). Free throws 19/31. Record 3-5.
Contact Jon Futrell, a Paducah Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8664.