HHS boys Buffaloed by Republic County at the Trojan Classic

Fouls, turnovers and some questionable officiating combined to form a “perfect storm” fourth-quarter debacle as the Hillsboro Trojans dropped a 45-42 game to Republic County on Tuesday after leading by 12 points at the start of the period.

The Trojans, seeded seventh at the Trojan Classic, held the upper hand for most of their first-round game against second-seeded Republic County. The game was tied 8-8 after one quarter, but a Trojan surge in the second period gave them a 23-26 lead at intermission.

Hillsboro started the third quarter with a 6-1 run through the first 1:08 to bump its lead to 12 points. The Trojans still led by that margin when the period ended at 36-24.

RC’s Gary Roberts scored six points in the first 2:00 of the final period to cut Hillsboro’s lead to 38-30. Lucas Hamm fouled out at the 5:15 mark on charging call and Troy Frick followed him to the bench with his fifth foul with 2:55 to play. Hillsboro still led at that point, 40-34, but two more baskets by Roberts in a 12-second span pulled the Buffaloes to within two at 40-38 with 2:14 to go.

RC took its first lead since the early minutes of the game when Roberts scored off another steal with 22.1 seconds to play. After Hillsboro missed three shots at the basket, Kyle Durflinger was fouled in the scramble for the ball and made of two free throws with 3.8 seconds to go for the 45-42 final margin. A last-second 3-point shot by Aaron Stepanek caromed off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Roberts finished with 13 points in the fourth quarter and a game-high 18 for the evening to pace Republic County. The Trojans, who committed nine of their 21 turnovers in the final period, were led in scoring by Daniel Jost with 11 points.

Hillsboro (3-5) will play Wamego in the semifinals of the consolation bracket at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.

The Hillsboro girls will play in the semifinals of the winner’s bracket at 6:30 Friday against the Republic County girls.

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