Trojan boys outlast Hesston to win Trojan Classic title

The person who see the glass half full would say Hesston and Hillsboro played great defense in their championship battle Saturday night in the Trojan Classic. Yhe one who sees it half empty would say neither team could execute on offense.

Somewhere in the middle was the truth as Hillsboro outlasted Hesston 38-31 to claim its eighth Trojan Classic title in 11 years.

Hillsboro missed its first seven shots from the floor and Hesston its first six, but seven points by Kyle Kroeker over the last 2:41 boosted the Trojans to a 9-2 lead at the first break.

The Trojans got relatively hot in the second period, managing 4 of 12 field goal attempts to take a 19-9 lead into the locker room at halftime. Hillsboro shot 28 percent (7-25) from the floor in the first two quarters and Hesston 20 percent (4-20).

Hesston started the third quarter on a roll, scoring eight straight points to pull with two, 19-17, with 5:52 on the clock. But Hillsboro came right back with an 8-0 run of its own, with Derek Hamm picking up six of the points.

A pair of unanswered 3-pointers by Hesston’s Brandon Leichty and Grady Pauls over the last 2:12 of the quarter pulled Hesston to within four at the final break, 27-23.

Hamm started the fourth quarter with two free throws and a field goal to extend the lead back to eight points, 31-23. Hesston pulled back to within four on a pair of baskets and the Trojan lead moved between four and eight points the rest of the way.

Hillsboro had a chance to salt the game away down the stretch, but made only 3 of 10 free throws over the last 3:31 — including misses on the front end of two one-and-one opportunities.

Hamm finished with 17 points to lead Hillsboro, which shot 30 percent for the game (16-54) . Pauls led Hesston with 9 points. The Swathers shot 29 percent from the floor (14-51).

The win improves Hillsboro’s record to 11-0 for the season while Hesston falls to 8-5.

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