Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 30 January 2007 18:00Travis Hett's lay-in at the buzzer gave the capacity crowd of Warrior fans that filled the Marion gym exactly what they were looking for-their team's first in win over a Hillsboro boys' team since 1993.
It took a few breaks and an overtime to get it done, but Warrior fans stormed the floor in the aftermath of their team's comeback 44-42 victory.
What made the win all the more dramatic was that the visiting Trojans had outplayed the home team in the first half on the way to building a healthy 26-14 lead by intermission.
Aaron Stepanek got Hillsboro rolling with a basket only 27 seconds into the contest. Lucas Hamm followed with a steal and layup at the 6:38 mark for a 4-0 lead.
With turnovers on four of their five opening possessions, Marion didn't get on the board until Travis Hett made a pair of free throws at the 6:26 mark.
But six points by Troy Frick and baskets by Spencer Brown and Hamm propelled the Trojans to a 14-6 advantage at the first break.
That lead grew to 20-8 on baskets by Brown, Darren Enns and Frick to start the second quarter.
A basket by Marion's Calvin Jeffrey broke the string of unanswered points, but Brown drained a pair of free throws and Hamm added another basket to give Hillsboro its largest lead of the night at 24-10 with 3:08 left in the half.
The score at intermission was 26-14.
But the momentum swung quickly in the second half to Marion's favor. Travis Hett's basket 14 seconds into the third quarter ignited a Marion rally that didn't end until Jason Hett scored a layup off a steal that tied the game at 34 with 2:05 left in the period.
--either team scored before the buzzer sounded as Hillsboro ran down the clock hoping for a last shot that never materialized.
When Travis Hett stole the ball and scored on a layup 19 seconds into the final period, a wild fourth quarter was under way. Hamm and Travis Hett traded points for a 38-38 tie with five minutes to go.
Then a 3-pointer by Stepanek at the 3:57 mark gave Hillsboro the lead. Neither team scored again until Hillsboro's Tyler Kaufman stole the ball and was fouled on a layup attempt with 47.4 seconds to play. Kaufman made one of two free throws for a four-point Hillsboro edge.
Jeffrey responded with one of two free throws with 38 seconds to go to narrow the lead to three.
Hillsboro had two chances to put the game away with one-and-one free-throw opportunities in the final 31 seconds. But Brown and Hamm both missed their front-end toss, leaving the door open for a game-tying 3-pointer by Jason Hett with 10.8 seconds left that sent the game into overtime.
After a scoreless start, the game turned on some odd officiating midway through the extra session. Whistles blew when Jason Hett drove the lane and Hamm stopped the layup attempt. One official called a foul on Hamm, his fifth, while a second official signaled a jump ball.
The two officials conferred, then awarded the ball to Hillsboro on the jump call. After hearing from both head coaches, the officials conferred again and then awarded the ball to Marion, sending Hamm to the bench.
The Warriors then worked the clock down to 12.8 seconds before calling a timeout to set up one last play. Travis Hett took the shot with 4.7 seconds left, but it missed the mark and Hillsboro was awarded the ball when it was knocked out of bounds.
Hillsboro's ensuing inbounds pass from under the Warrior basket came to Elliot Soyez near the free-throw line. But Jeffrey went over the top of Soyez and knocked the ball loose.
It fell into Travis Hett's hands, and the senior standout drove the lane hard for the winning lay-in.
"The thing I was most proud of with my guys was that we didn't quit when we were down at halftime," Marion coach Rex Ostmeyer said.
"We talked about how the game wasn't over and that we needed to try and force the tempo a bit more and at some point in time, we had to make some shots."
"I was proud of how we made some plays down the stretch to come out on top against a really good team."
Hillsboro coach Darrel Knoll said he was frustrated the game was allowed to become as physical as it did, but ultimately the outcome would have been different if his team had simply taken care of business down the stretch.
"From our standpoint, it was free-throws and turnovers-you can't win games turning the ball over and missing free throws," he said.
"We played a good (first) half, but they came out a notch higher (in the second half), we were a notch lower, and they were able to tie it up. Then it was a dogfight the rest of the way."
Travis Hett finished with 23 points to lead Marion, who improved to 8-4. Jason Hett added 13. As a team, the Warriors made 16 of 41 shots (39 percent) from the floor and nine of 17 free throws.
For Hillsboro, Hamm scored 14 and Frick 10. The Trojans made only six of 17 shots in the second half and finished with 17 of 40 for the night (43 percent).
The Trojans made seven of 14 free throws.
Ellinwood-Hillsboro got the chance it needed to recover some of its swagger after a disappointing Trojan Classic experience, dominating an undermanned Ellinwood team, 50-26, Tuesday at Brown Gymnasium.
The contest wasn't even as close as the final margin might indicate.
The Trojans led 10-2 after one quarter and 22-3 at halftime. Ellinwood's zone defense slowed the pace of the game for Hillsboro on the offensive end, but the Trojans' aggressive man defense limited the Eagles to a single field goal in 15 attempts through the first two quarters.
"We just wanted to come out and play as hard as we possibly could on defense," coach Darrel Knoll said about his expectations for the game. "I thought we played great defense for the first three quarters."
By the end of that third period, the Trojans were ahead by a 42-11 margin after limiting the visitors to 3-for-7 shooting and forcing six more turnovers on the way to 27 for the game.
Matched against Trojan reserves and a continuous clock in the fourth quarter, the Eagles more than doubled their output from the previous three periods with a 15-8 scoring advantage.
"Subbing so much, we kind of lost some of our rhythm," Knoll said. "And we turned the ball over too many times."
The Eagle surge mattered little in regard to the outcome. For the game, Ellinwood shot 33 percent (11-33) from the field while the Trojans finished at 51 percent (20-39).
Lucas Hamm and Troy Frick led Hillsboro's balanced scoring attack with nine points apiece while Daniel Jost and Aaron Stepanek each added seven.
"Offensively, we just need to move the ball better," Knoll said. We're getting there. Especially when we moved into the second quarter, I thought we passed the ball a lot better.
"We talked a lot about coming out and doing the best we can," he added. "The fortunate thing is we had a chance to get ourselves back on the winning side so close to the (Trojan Classic) tournament."