Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 26 December 2006 18:00The Hillsboro boys stayed stride for stride with Wichita Collegiate for the first lap Tuesday night. But it was Collegiate who maintained the pace to the finish line, pulling away with a 51-33 victory in Wichita.
According to Trojan coach Darrel Knoll, the outcome was all about which team was in the best "game shape" to compete.
"We've got to get ourselves in shape, regroup, try to get some confidence somewhere and get some of the stuff done that we didn't get to do during the first nine or 10 days of practice," Knoll said.
More than anything, Knoll said his team, now 2-4, needs serious practice time during the holiday break to make up ground lost in the preseason because of the football team's extended playoff run.
"It's all the little stuff that is costing us right now and it makes the whole thing not look good-but it's because we're not sharp on our fundamentals.
"I think a lot of guys are physically tired, plus not being in basketball shape. Those two things can make you not look very good."
In the early going, the two teams were competitive on the scoreboard. The Trojans scored three points in the last minute to pull into a 9-9 tie with the Spartans at the first break.
But the warning signs were already present, as a quick and aggressive Collegiate team attempted 15 field goals to Hillsboro's six.
In the second quarter, the Spartans' shots started going in.
With four players contributing points, Collegiate fueled a 15-4 run on 7-for-11 shooting, including a dunk midway through by Cole Fiegel, the 6-feet, 2-inch son of Spartan coach Mitch Fiegel.
Trailing 24-13 at intermission, the Trojans needed a strong start to the third quarter. Instead, they suffered through five turnovers and no points until Lucas Hamm made one of two free throws at the 4:17 mark.
By then, Collegiate had 30 points on the scoreboard.
Hamm followed his free throw with a 3-pointer 15 seconds later to cut the margin to 30-17. But Fiegel was on fire, scoring eight straight points for the Spartans and 12 for the quarter.
When the smoke cleared at the end the quarter, Collegiate was leading 41-20.
A free throw from Darren Enns, a pair of 3-pointers by Daniel Jost and a basket by Hamm cut the margin to 43-29 with 6:07 to go. But six more points from Fiegel helped his team establish the final 18-point margin.
Fiegel finished with a game-high 22 points. He and his teammates combined for 46 percent shooting (21-46) and made six of eight free throws.
Hamm, with 15 points, was the only Trojan to crack double digits. The Trojans made 32 percent (9-28) of their shots from the floor and struggled at the line with 12 makes in 23 attempts.
Making free throws and finishing fast breaks are two of the "small" things Knoll said his team needs to address.
"Those two things in themselves could have kept us in the ball game," he said.
"We should have been able to compete a little better than we did tonight in terms of the score," he added. "I thought we tried really hard-we didn't quit in the second half. I was happy to see us do that-but they're a good team.
"I told the guys after the game it's all about executing fundamentals that we're not doing right now, and it's costing us these kind of games and making us not compete as well as we could."