Trojan offense leads to three big wins

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF

This may have been one of the most offensive weekends in Hillsboro High School basketball history.


In a good sense, of course. As in points scored.


The 10-0 Trojans averaged 87 points in back-to-back wins against Sterling (80-62) at home on Friday and at Wellington (94-50) on Saturday.


Not bad for a team that was already averaging a respectable 67 points a game going in.


Against winless Wellington, a non-league Class 4A foe, Tyler Weinbrenner was the spark plug, finishing with 28 points in less than three quarters of playing time. He scored 12 of them in the first quarter, including nine in a row over a two-and-a-half-minute stretch on baskets off three steals and three free throws.


By the end of the first quarter, the Trojans were up 18-10, extended the margin to 44-24 by intermission, and then blew the Crusaders out of the gym with a 29-13 advantage through the third quarter.


For the game, the Trojans shot 54.1 percent, including 9-of-17 3-point attempts. For all those points, though, only two other Trojans broke double figures-and they came off the bench to do it. Dustin Jost scored 16 and Shawn Hughbanks 10.


Coach Darrel Knoll got 47 points from his bench, including eight from sophomore Aaron Yoder, who played a little more than three-and-a-half remarkable minutes at the end of the game.


The only place the Trojans didn’t shine on offense was at the free-throw line, where they nailed only 19 of 33 attempts.


“We ran the floor well and we shot well tonight-except from the free-throw line,” Knoll said “I told the guys we have to concentrate more on free throws. In a game like this, I thought we lost our concentration.”


Meanwhile, the Hillsboro defense held its opponents to 26.7 percent shooting and forced 31 turnovers, including 20 steals.


“Defensively, I was really very pleased with us all night,” Knoll said. “The only thing I was disappointed in during the first half is that we allowed too many offensive rebounds. They were shoving us pretty hard, but by the same token we were not blocking out.”


Sterling-Hillsboro used a 27-13 assault in the third quarter to knock out Mid Division foe Sterling Friday night, 80-62.


The Trojans jumped to a 15-0 lead at the start of the game, but by the end of the quarter the Black Bears had clawed their way back to within 10 points-and then drew to within eight by intermission.


“It wasn’t that we weren’t playing that well, but we didn’t make any points,” Coach Darrel Knoll said about the mild first-half lapse. “We missed some shots we should have made and we had five or six fast breaks that we didn’t execute because we didn’t get out in our lanes quire right and made poor decisions where to go.”


Adam Woods scored six of the nine points the Trojans scored during the first three minutes of the third quarter. Sterling tried to stay in the game with 3-pointers, but without consistent success.


The pace of the game was intense and physical throughout the night.


“The last four minutes we were just trying to finish the game without wearing out much more energy,” Knoll said. “The hard part was they were crashing the boards so hard. I thought we did a pretty good job, really, considering it was tough to get a rebound without having three or four guys hanging on us. But we kept our composure.”


Hillsboro shot a blistering 59.1 percent from the field for the game. Tyler Weinbrenner led the way wih 19 points, but he got strong support from teammates Layne Frick with 15, Andy Brubacher with 12 and Ross Duerksen 11. Frick and Brubacher were both 3-of-4 behind the arc.


Sterling shot 60 percent from the field, but Knoll wasn’t critical of his team’s defense on this night.


“For the pace of the game that it was, I thought we did well,” he said. “We scored 40 points the first half and 40 the second half. That’s pretty good. I’ll take 80 points every night. Hopefully, we can play good enough defense that they won’t score more than 80.”


Nickerson-Hillsboro overcame a slow shooting start, but found its touch as the game wore on to post a solid 76-56 win over Nickerson, Jan. 8, at Brown Gymnasium.


“Offensively, it was probably the best we’ve played in maybe three games,” a pleased coach Darrel Knoll said afterward.


It didn’t start that way.


The Trojans made only four of 14 shots in the first period and trailed 15-11 at quarter’s end. But Hillsboro, led by eight points from Andy Brubacher and seven from Ross Duerksen, broke the game open with a 29-9 second quarter.


Brubacher, who broke out of a seven-game scoring slump with a team-high 16 points for the night, punctuated the quarter by nailing a 3-point desperation fall-away hook shot from the right corner at the buzzer.


That kind of luck contributed to a solid 55 percent shooting performance from the floor over the last three quarters and 48.2 percent for the game.


In addition to Brubacher, three other Trojans broke double figures: Layne Frick returned to early-season form with 14, Duerksen added 11 and Adam Woods 10.


Defensively, the player of the game may have been sophomore Tyler Peachey, who came off the bench and shut down the Panthers’ best player, Rob Arneson, a 6-5 senior post who still managed 17 points despite sitting out much of the second quarter with foul trouble.


“I thought Tyler Peachey had an outstanding game,” Knoll said. “He probably played, on Arneson, the best defense all around and made a lot of things happen, especially in that run we had in the second quarter. I was really pleased with his play in the post area.”


Coming-After the Trojans complete their Trojan Classic this weekend, they won’t play again until Jan. 29, when they travel to Haven.

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