The Hillsboro boys overcame an six-point halftime deficit with some outstanding defensive play to beat Smoky Valley Tuesday night at Lindsborg, 57-42.
The Trojan girls, meanwhile, used an 11-0 run at the end of the first half to fuel themselves to a 37-26 victory.
In the boys’ game, the outcome of the game was very much in doubt in the first half as the Vikings led a sluggish Trojan team 15-14 after one quarter and then 28-22 at intermission.
The Vikings’ scoring machine, Chase Dippel, had 14 points by halftime but made only five of 15 field-goal attempts, thanks to strong defense by Daniel Jost.
In the second half, the Trojans came out as a different team, with Jost moving his game up a notch from “very good” to “outstanding.” After a nine-point first half, he poured in 16 in the second half, including nine of 10 shooting at the free-throw line for a game-high 25 points.
The Trojans took their first lead of the night when Ben Bebermeyer made one of two free throws for a 34-33 advantage with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
When Andy Klassen nailed a 3-pointer in the opening seconds of the final period, Hillsboro went on a 15-1 run that carried them to a 49-34 lead with 5 minutes to go. Smoky Valley came back to within 10 points, but Jost drained four straight free throws to push HHS safely ahead, 53-39, with 2:37 to go.
For all of the offensive punch Jost delivered, it was his defense that delivered the knockout blow. Dippel finished with only 17 points for the game on 6-for-27 shooting.
With the win, Hillsboro advances to 5-3 for the season and 2-1 in league play.
In the girls’ game, both teams struggled for offense through most of the first half. HHS led 8-5 after one quarter, but Smoky Valley tied the game at 10-10 when Jordan Sherwood nailed a 3-pointer with 2:10 left.
Rather than be disheartened, Hillsboro caught fire. Dakota Kaufman started the scoring with an easy basket on a great feed from Candace Weinbrenner. Allie Faul then stole the ball and scored seconds later. Abi Humber drained a 15-footer, Kassidi Luthi scored on a great pass from Faul, Humber added a free throw and Luthi topped the 11-0 run with a put-back in the final 2 seconds.
Hillsboro expanded its 21-10 halftime lead to as much as 29-10 when Cassie Kroeker hit a 15-footer with 4:50 left in the third quarter. The Trojans led 33-18 at the final break and went on to claim the victory to raise their record to 4-4 for the season and 1-2 in league play.
Luthi finished with 12 points to lead the team.