Hillsboro started the game with four turnovers and a missed shot in its first five possessions as the Spartans jumped to a 6-0 lead. Clay Shewey finally got Hillsboro on the board, scoring the Trojans’ only basket of the quarter from 3-point range at the 4:11 mark. By the end of the period, Hillsboro was looking up from a 14-4 deficit.
But the Trojans picked up their game in the second quarter. When Daniel Jost scored on a putback of his own miss following a steal, it sparked a 13-7 surge and Hillsboro closed Collegiate’s halftime lead to 24-19.
Instead of taking the final steps out of the hole, Hillsboro slipped badly at the start of the third quarter, committing four turnovers and missing all but one of its eight field-goal attempts as Collegiate pushed the margin to 35-21 with 3:12 left in the period.
The Trojans never mounted a serious threat in the final period as Collegiate’s Cole Fiegel dissected Hillsboro’s defense for four layups through the first four minutes. After the fourth one, the Spartans enjoyed their largest lead of the night, 54-37.
“I just felt we played a little tentative,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “We let them intimidate us on some shots we should normally make. I was really disappointed with that part of our game.”
The loss dropped Hillsboro 6-3 in league play and 10-8 overall while Collegiate improved to 9-0 and 16-2.
Halstead—Halstead took the lead on a 3-point basket just over a minute into the game and never trailed en route to a 68-60 home win over Hillsboro on Friday.
Halstead led 38-31 at halftime and 51-46 after three quarters. A basket by Daniel Jost to open the fourth quarter brought the Trojans to within three points, but less than a minute later, a steal by Halstead that ended in a layup and bonus free throw on a foul proved to be a pivotal swing as Halstead went ahead 54-48.
The Trojans never got closer than five points after that.
One of the keys of the game was the 13 points Halstead scored on defensive steals ending in layups.
David Loewen scored 21, Jost added 14, Serene 12 and Clay Shewey 11—accounting for all but two of Hillsboro’s points.
“We allowed ourselves to get forced out of what we wanted to do due to the physical nature of the game,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “We didn’t shoot particularly well and we made too many mistakes with the basketball.”
Nickerson—The Trojans avenged a 14-point loss in early January by outlasting the Panthers 48-47 last Tuesday in a gritty, defensive rematch at Brown Gymnasium.
Hillsboro trailed for most of the first half, but a 7-2 surge in the last 1:09—capped by an NBA-length 3-pointer by Gavin Serene —gave Hillsboro a 28-23 advantage at halftime.
The Trojans struggled in the third quarter with 1-for-9 shooting and five turnovers, enabling Nickerson to regain the lead at the final break, 34-31.
“We couldn’t do anything we wanted to do in the third quarter,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “Somehow we just weren’t in sync.”
In the fourth quarter, David Loewen stepped up for Hillsboro, scoring eight of his game-high 16 points through the first 4:40 of the period.
With Hillsboro leading 43-42, Daniel Jost sank a pair of free throws with 47.2 seconds left. Following a basket by Nickerson’s Mace Krol, Mitchell Koop made one of two free throws with 32.7 seconds left to make the score 46-44.
When Krol missed his next shot, Loewen pulled down a huge rebound, got the ball downcourt to Jost, who laid it into the basket with 9.3 seconds left to seal the victory. Scott Stroberg beat the final buzzer with a meaningless 3-pointer to make the final score 48-47.
“The guys did a good job of finally getting the ball inside (to Loewen),” Knoll said. “Nickerson just D-ed us up hard. It was hard to get into our offense when they’re like that. I was glad we made enough plays to win the game.”
Coming—Hillsboro will wrap its regular-season this week with a game Tuesday against Lyons (8-9, 4-4) and then a rematch with Smoky Valley (9-8, 6-2) on Friday. Both games will be played in Brown Gymnasium.
Hillsboro will host next week’s sub-state tournament. The first round of play is always on the home court of the higher seed.
The Free Press will post the pairings on its Web site and Free Line (947-3363) as soon they become available.
Joining Hillsboro in the eight-school field are Southeast of Saline, Halstead, Hutchinson Trinity, Lyons, Marion, Sedgwick and Remington.