The Patriots (10-5) had tied the game at 70 with 37 seconds left in regulation and seemed poised to complete a second-half rally for the win.
Then Hilton came up big and slipped the ball back into the basket to push the Trailblazers back in front 72-70. Chad Heglar, who finished with a game-high 30 points, hit 3 of 4 free throws in the last 13 seconds for the final margin of victory.
“Hilton is so quick,” said Boone coach Chris Brown. “He just got in there and made a big play for us just when we needed it.”
Sullivan East raced out to a 24-18 lead after the first quarter but went cold over the final four minutes of the first half to fall behind 46-34 at the break. Boone outscored the Pats 17-4 after trailing 30-29 with 5:46 left in the second quarter.
“We played a terrible final four minutes of the half,” said East coach John Dyer. “We just lost our heart for those four minutes and against a good team you can’t do that.”
The Patriots trailed 51-41 with 4:32 left in the third quarter. From there, they went on a 15-5 run of their own to knot the score at 56 heading into the final stanza.
Hilton and Heglar hit back-to-back baskets to open the fourth quarter and move the ’Blazers out front 60-56. They maintained the lead down the stretch until East’s Mason Johnson drained a trey with 37 seconds remaining to tie the contest at 70.
That’s when Hilton worked his magic and the Trailblazers were able to seal the deal.
“A couple of rebounds were the difference,” Dyer said. “But I’m proud of my guys for fighting back.”
Heglar felt the win was a morale boost for the Trailblazers.
“We needed a win,” Heglar said. “This should give us confidence going forward.”
Brown was also upbeat.
“We’ve had to learn to fight through adversity,” he said. “Tonight we did that and that’s a positive.”
Hilton finished with 16 points for Boone while Marshall Golden had 10.
Dustin Bartley led the Patriots with 29 points with Dylan Bartley chipping in 21.