Hillsboro boys reach sub-state finals

The Hillsboro boys got in front early and then stayed there the rest of the night for a 61-55 win over Hesston in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state tournament in Lyons.

Tyler Weinbrenner’s 3-pointer with 4:36 to play in the opening period put Hillsboro ahead, 7-6, and the Trojans never trailed from that point. The score after one quarter was 18-11 and then 34-29 at intermission.

The game followed a fairly consistent theme: Hillsboro would extend its lead, then Hesston would scrap its way back into contention. In the third quarter, the Trojans led by their biggest margin, 46-32, on a 3-pointer by Andy Brubacher with 4:48 left in the period. But a 7-0 Hesston run over the next two minutes pulled the Swathers to within seven. Hillsboro still led by seven at the break, 48-41.

Hesston scored the first two buckets of the final period to pull within three points, 48-45. But Ross Duerksen stepped up with a driving layup and then hit seven of eight free throws over the last 3:42 to help his team seal the win.

Tyler Weinbrenner scored 17 points to lead Hillsboro in scoring; Duerksen finished right behind him with 16. As a team, the Trojans shot 50 percent from the field, unofficially.

Cole Esau led the Swathers with 20 points. Brad Gattis, the MCAA’s leading scoring averaging more than 19 points a game, managed only 13 on this night.

With the win, Hillsboro moves to 19-3 for the season and will play Hoisington at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, for the chance to return to Hutchinson for the first time in three years. The Cardinals came from behind to defeat Southeast of Saline on Thursday, 44-38.

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