Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 07 February 2012 22:42
Sometimes it boils down to who wants it more. Hillsboro’s teams demonstrated the truth of that adage -- in both a good and bad way -- Tuesday night at Brown Gymnasium in a split of games against the Sterling Black Bears.
The Hillsboro boys took control of their game against the state-ranked Black Bears with an outstanding second half en route to an impressive 79-63 victory, while the girls appeared less than determined in their 53-51 loss.
GIRLS -- Hillsboro started well against the Black Bears, a team the Trojans beat by 25 points back in December, but came into the game with a 12-3 season record.
The Trojans scored the first six points of the game and didn’t allow a basket until the 5:08 mark of the opening period. When Danae Bina scored with 3:50 to go, the Trojans led 10-2. But Sterling closed the gap to 14-9 by the end of the period.
The two teams played to a 7-7 standoff in the second period, so Hillsboro took a five-point lead into intermission at 21-16.
The game turned in the first four minutes of both the third and fourth periods. In the third quarter, the Trojans committed six turnovers and missed their only two shots before Krista Reimer scored on a putback with 4:07 left to end a 10-0 Sterling scoring run that put the Black Bears on top, 26-23.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Callie Serene at 1:23 and 0:29 gave the Trojans one last brief lead before Sterling scored a basket and a pair of free throws in the final 14 seconds to stake a 38-35 lead at the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, the Trojans committed five turnovers and made only two of five shots as Sterling built a 49-40 lead, capped by a three-pointer by Lydia Lambert with 4:13 to play. To their credit, the Trojans battled back to within 51-49 when Serene hit another three with 1:32 to go. After Dani Dowell scored a basket for Sterling with 55 seconds left, Hillsboro missed two three-point attempts, but Addie Lackey hit 12-foot jump shot with five seconds to go to give the Trojans a chance to pull out a win. Coming out of a timeout with 4.2 second showing, Hillsboro stole the ball on the inbounds pass, but then gave it right back as time ran out.
Game statistics were as even as the final score -- except for turnovers, where the Trojans committed 22 (16 in the second half) to Sterling’s 13.
Hillsboro had three players score in double digits: Bina had 13, Serene 11 and Lackey 10. Sterling’s Taylor Ahnert took game honors with 14 points.
The loss drops Hillsboro 14-2 for the year and 4-1 in the Central Kansas League while Sterling improved to 13-3 and 3-2.
BOYS -- Three strong quarters of basketball was enough for Hillsboro to defeat the Black Bears, who came in ranked No. 2 in Class 2A at 14-1, by 16 points for the Trojans’ eighth straight victory. The win avenged their 56-49 loss at Sterling in December.
Hillsboro came out strong, building a 10-1 lead in the first 4:30 on the way to an 18-9 advantage after one quarter. Christian Ratzlaff pushed the lead to 20-9 when he scored a basket 12 seconds into the second quarter. But Sterling responded with a 12-3 run that narrowed the gap to 23-21. Hillsboro made only five of 14 shots during the quarter while Sterling bagged nine of 12, including a three-pointer at the buzzer by Matt DeWerf that tied the game at 31 at halftime.
Austin Maxwell scored for Sterling 14 seconds into the third quarter as the Black Bears stepped into the lead for the first time at 33-31. But Hillsboro would not be denied. Brett Weinbrenner hit a pair of three-pointers within a 36-second span, Ratzlaff added five points and Josh Wiebe two as Hillsboro charged to a 44-33 lead -- and took control of the game. When Weinbrenner hit another three at the buzzer, Hillsboro led 60-50 after three quarters.
Not only were the Trojans were never seriously threatened in the fourth quarter, they expanded the margin to a game-high 16 points when Weinbrenner scored the game’s final two points on a pair of free throws with 38.4 second to go.
The Trojans’ 79 points exceeded their previous season high by 10 points, and was fueled by just under 50 percent shooting from the floor (28-57). A season-high four players broke double digits in scoring, led by Thiessen and Weinbrenner with 16 each, Ratzlaff with 15 and Wiebe 14. In a game with 47 fouls called, Hillsboro made 19 of 31 free throws while Sterling cashed in 15 of 21. Three Black Bears fouled out before it was over.
With the win, Hillsboro improves to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in the CKL. Sterling falls to 14-2 and 3-2.