HHS girls headed to state; boys fall just short

Angela Kroeker has been the Hillsboro girls’ leading scorer nearly every game this season.

But Saturday night, Kroeker was given a different role. She was assigned to stop Gina Wheat of Northern Heights, who was coming off a 25-point performance in the substate semifinals.

Kroeker held Wheat to 12 points and the Trojan girls pulled off a mild upset, topping the No. 3 ranked (KBCA) Northern Heights girls’ 52-43 to earn a berth in the Class 3A sub-state torunament next week.

Kroeker, who averages more than 17 points per game, was held to six in the contest. But Angela Herzet and Jill Hein stepped up, both scoring in double digits to help propel the Trojans to the win.

The story of the game was the inside play for Hillsboro, who was outsized but managed to snag several rebounds off the offensive glass.

Herzet led the Trojans with 14 points, followed by Hein with 12 and Heather Matz with nine.

The girls now advance to the state basketball tournament to be held next week in Hutchinson. Hillsboro is 20-3 on the year and will play Smith Center in the first round of the tournament. Game time is 8:15 p.m. on Thursday.

The boys’ game did not produce the same positive outcome.

Tyson Ratzlaff led a late charge against Osage City in the sub-state championship game, but it wasn’t enough as the Trojans lost 51-45.

Ratzlaff’s 3-point barrage in the final minute of the game was not enough to overcome a 12-point deficit. Ratzlaff finished with 13 points.

Jeremy Loewen put together a terrific game for the Trojans, scoring the team’s first seven points and finishing with 14.

But the Trojans were once again not 100 percent. Grant Brubacher, the junior point guard and leading scorer for Hillsboro, was suffering from the flu and scored just seven points in the game.

The boys end their season with a record of 15-8 and the admiration of their coach.

“We just fought so hard all year through adversity and I think this game is a testament to what we went through this year,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “We fought hard until the end, and that shows how much this team wanted it.”

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