In a game that featured 18 lead changes, The Trojans grabbed what proved to be the final advantage when David Loewen made one of two free throws with 1:44 left for a 49-48 edge.
Daniel Jost grabbed Loewen’s miss for a huge rebound, but seconds later Gavin Serene was called for traveling. Halstead responded by throwing the ball away on a back-door pass with 55 seconds to go.
The two teams traded quick turnovers in a ragged exchange before Hillsboro coughed up the ball one last time when Clay Shewey lost possession along the Trojan baseline with 32.6 seconds left.
Halstead called two timeouts on the way to an apparent final shot. Tyler Ratzlaff took it with 7 seconds left, but the ball clanked off the rim and into Jost’s hands.
Halstead’s Jared Regehr fouled the Trojan junior with 4.6 seconds to go. But it took two more quick fouls off inbound plays to put Hillsboro on the free-throw line for a one-and-one situation that would give Halstead one last chance for a Christmas miracle with 1.9 seconds left.
But Shewey swished both charities, and Loewen intercepted the Dragons’ ensuing inbound pass at halfcourt to secure the victory at the buzzer.
“It’s a win,” a smiling coach Darrel Knoll said after the game. “We had the right guy at the line at the end.”
From beginning to end, this game was a battle. Halstead squeaked through the first quarter with a 14-13 lead. Hillsboro took a 26-25 edge into the locker room at halftime when Halstead ran clock for the last 1:10, then missed the shot at the buzzer.
Through the last five baskets of the second quarter and the first four of the third quarter, the lead changed hands nine times. Andy Klassen gave the Trojans a 30-29 lead on the ninth change, then broke the pattern with another basket 21 seconds later. That fueled Hillsboro to the largest lead either team enjoyed all night when Shewey hit a free throw and Jost penetrated for a layup to make it 35-29 with 3:47 left in the quarter.
Halstead was back to within three points, 39-36, at the break, then took its last lead when Matt Vermillion drained a 3-pointer and Ratzlaff followed with a pair of free throws for a 43-41 edge with 4:50 left in the game.
Hillsboro enjoyed a balanced scoring effort, with four players in double figures: Loewen tossed in 13, Shewey 11 and Jost and Klassen 10 each. Loewen added 11 rebounds for his second double-double of the season.
As a team, the Trojans made 54 percent (20-37) of their shots compared to 37 percent (19-52) for the Dragons. That helped Hillsboro overcome a 20-turnover evening while Halstead committed only 12.
The non-league win improved Hillsboro’s record to 3-2 while Halstead slipped to 3-2.
Collegiate—No. 1 ranked and defending Class 3A champion Wichita Collegiate lived up to its billing with a convincing 62-43 victory over Hillsboro Tuesday at Brown Gymnasium.
The Trojans (2-2) kept pace with the undefeated Spartans (4-0) through one quarter. Clay Shewey chipped in seven points, including five unanswered ones at the end, to help HHS overcome seven turnovers and pull to within a point by quarter’s end, 13-12.
But Collegiate’s depth and scrambling man defense began to take its toll in the second quarter. The Trojans managed only one free throw on the offensive end over the first 4:15 while the Spartans tossed in nine points on perfect shooting from the field (3-3) and the line (2-2).
David Loewen broke Hillsboro’s dry spell with a basket at the 3:43 mark, but Collegiate pushed its lead to 32-18 before Shewey drained a 3-pointer from the right wing in the final minute to trim the halftime margin to 11 points.
“I thought the first half we played them really well,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “We were a little hesitant against their press, but once we started figuring out how to break it and played with more confidence, I thought we did a good job. We just have to be more consistent and execute offense better in the half court.”
Both teams started slowly in the second half. But after missing its first four shots, Collegiate launched a 17-2 run that dropped the Trojans into a 49-23 cavern with 2:28 left in the third period.
Loewen broke the freefall with a basket, but it was mighty mite Gavin Serene who sparked a 10-0 Trojan surge that pulled HHS back to respectability at 49-33 by quarter’s end. The 5-foot-6 senior scored eight consecutive points, including two big buckets in the paint and a 3-pointer.
Serene added a 2-pointer to start the fourth quarter, but Collegiate pushed the lead back to 62-40 with 2:00 to play.
“I thought they just wore us down a little, especially in the third quarter,” Knoll said.
Shewey led HHS with 18 points to go with Serene’s 10. Collegiate limited Loewen to seven points, but the junior did pull down 11 of Hillsboro’s 25 rebounds.
Collegiate’s defense was credited with 19 steals, which translated into a 21-6 edge in points off turnovers and a 56-31 edge in field-goal attempts. The Trojans made 39 percent (12) of its attempts while the Spartans made nearly 45 percent (25).
Hillsboro’s only edge on offense came at the free-throw line, where the Trojans made 14 of 23 while Collegiate made six in only eight chances.
Coming—The Trojans will take its 3-2 record to Hoisington when they begin the 2008 portion of the season Friday, Jan. 4. The Trojans will then play a makeup game Monday, Jan. 7, at Nickerson (4-1), who defeated Hoisington by 20 points last week.