ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Tyler Weinbrenner capped an impressive scoring week with 12 points in the final four minutes of the third quarter to lift Hillsboro to an impressive 64-48 win over Wichita Collegiate Friday in Wichita.
With the Trojans leading by only four points, 33-29, Weinbrenner took over the game, hitting five of six field goals, including a 3-pointer and a traditional three-point play to give Hillsboro a 48-35 lead by quarter’s end.
“When he’s feeling it, he’s really good,” coach Darrel Knoll said afterward. “I thought his shot selection was good. It wasn’t like he was forcing shots. When he’s hot, you’ve got to give him the ball and let him do his thing.”
Weinbrenner finished with 27 points, adding to the 37 he scored in a loss to Haven on Tuesday. A key difference between those two games, though, was that the 5-9 junior had plenty of offensive help from his teammates against the Spartans.
Weinbrenner started the game with a 3-pointer, Ross Duerksen added two points with a five-footer off a spin move, and Andy Brubacher drove the lane for two more to put the Trojans ahead 6-4.
The Trojans then hit a scoring funk until Collegiate coach Mitch Fiegel was called for a technical with 2:02 left in the quarter with his team leading, 9-8.
After Weinbrenner hit one of two free throws, Tyler Peachey scored on a drive along the baseline, Dustin Jost added a free throw and Weinbrenner hit a 10-foot runner to give Hillsboro a 14-11 lead by quarter’s end.
The Trojans more or less maintained that lead through the second quarter until breaking loose for a 9-1 run after Hillsboro was miscalled for a technical foul on an official’s error with 1:37 to go.
The run put the Trojans up, 33-23, at the break.
Weinbrenner’s scoring burst in the third quarter put the Trojans in command for good. Seven players stepped up for points as Hillsboro pulled away in the final period.
Knoll praised the play of his bench, particularly Dustin Jost and Tyler Peachey early in the game.
“It wasn’t that we weren’t ready to play (in the first quarter), things just weren’t working for us at that point,” Knoll said. “I think a couple of guys off the bench gave us some good spark, and then we were able to get our rhythm back.
“I thought we played pretty good team ball all night,” Knoll said. “It was nice to see a pretty solid game. We still haven’t got our four solid quarters yet, but we were up to three.”
Weinbrenner, the only Trojan to break double figures, was 6-of-13 from inside the arc, but an impressive 4-of-5 behind it.
As a team, the Trojans shot 51.1 percent from the field and got point production from 10 players. Peachey scored eight coming off the bench. The sophomore was 4-of-5 from the field with six rebounds and three assists.
Haven-Even an amazing second-half comeback fired by an outstanding offensive performance by Tyle Weinbrenner couldn’t overcome a sluggish start, and cost Hillsboro its undefeated record with a 75-73 loss at Haven, Jan. 29.
The Trojans came out a step too slow on defense, and the Wildcats took advantage with a barrage of nine 3-pointers in the first half to take a whopping 44-25 lead at intermission.
Coach Darrel Knoll said his team played like a team that had been sitting on a school van for a slow two-hour ride because of an ice storm.
That was all true, but it wasn’t an excuse, he said.
“We played in the first half like we had lead in our feet, like we didn’t care,” Knoll said.
“We were jogging up the court on offense. On defense, we weren’t getting transition, we were giving them wide-open looks at it. And they hit everything.”
Knoll said he had one basic message for his team during intermission.
“The thing we said at halftime was, no matter what the outcome of this game is, we are going to come out and play with some pride and give ourselves a chance,” he said.
They did just that. The Trojans stepped up their defensive pressure, and allowed only two more Haven 3-pointers the rest of the game.
Meanwhile, Weinbrenner torched the nets for 25 points in the second half and when Layne Frick scored in the paint with 1:11 to play, Hillsboro took the lead, 73-72.
Haven then worked the ball down to 20 seconds before calling a timeout. Pressed to get off a shot, the Wildcats’ Ricky Snyder threw up one last 3-pointer from the top of the key and banked the ball into the basket with eight seconds left.
Weinbrenner drove down the court and threw up a running one-hander from the top of the key that missed the mark as the buzzer sounded.
The loss was disappointing for Knoll and the Trojans after coming back from so far.
Knoll said he hoped his team learned it needs to play a full four quarters every night.
“I thought we played with more intensity in the second half and didn’t give them the looks,” Knoll said. “I also thought they got a little tired. As hard as we were playing, I thought we kept up the intensity the entire second half. That was one plus we can take from this game.”
Coming-The Trojans, 14-1 through Friday, played Mid Division opponent Halstead Tuesday night. The results of that game are posted on the Free Line (947-3363) and the Web (old.hillsborofreepress.com.)
On Friday, Hillsboro will play host to Central Division rival Hesston, who was 10-4 going into Tuesday night. Game time will be around 8 p.m.