Free-throw shooting, rebounding and fouls conspired against the Hillsboro boys in a 45-42 loss to Thomas More Prep in the fifth-place game at the Trojan Classic on Saturday afternoon.
It appeared the Trojans would continue along the path of improved play in recent games as they streaked to a 16-9 lead after one quarter with six players contributing points.
The roll continued into the next quarter. Mason McCarty sank two free throws, Jarod Hamm came off the bench to hit consecutive 3-pointers and Ben Bebermeyer made one of two free-throws as the lead grew to 25-13 with 5:52 left in the half. But the magic ended abruptly for the Trojans, who finished the half with 0-for-7 shooting from the floor and 0-for-3 from the line (including a one-and-one) as their lead shrunk to 25-22 by intermission.
Hillsboro regained some composure to start the third quarter and led by as much as six points at 32-26 with 3 minutes left in the period. After a traditional three-point play by TMP and a basket by Hillsboro?s Caleb Hillard, the game took a turn south when Bebermeyer picked up his fourth foul with 2:14 left. About 30 second later, Jesse Allen also picked up his fourth foul. With the team?s two leading scorers and ball-handlers sitting on the bench, TMP finished the quarter with a 6-0 run to as HHS committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions before Luke Moore got off an errant 3-point shot at the buzzer.
Bebermeyer and Allen were back in the lineup to start the final quarter, and Bebermeyer scored on consecutive drives to the basket within the first two minutes to put HHS back on top, 38-37. TMP came back with six straight points before Bebermeyer hit one of two free throws to make the score 43-40 in TMP?s favor with 4:02 to go.
Bebermeyer then stole the ball and drove the lane and scored — but was called for a charge, nullifying the basket and sending him permanently to the bench with 3:48 to play. Even so, McCarty scored to pull the Trojans to within 43-41 with 2:47 to go, and Allen made of one of two free-throws with 39.3 seconds left to bring HHS to within one point. After a TMP timeout with 26 seconds left, HHS was slow to foul when play resumed. When they sent Jordan Maska to the line 12.8 second to go, the junior calmly sank both ends of a one-and-one to give TMP its 45-42 final margin.
The Trojans worked for an open 3-pointer but had to settle for one by Allen from NBA distance that bounced off the back of the rim at the buzzer.
Hillsboro outshot TMP from the floor, 43 percent to 37 percent, but shot miserably from the line at 7-for-20 (35 percent). TMP made nine of 14 (64 percent). TMP?held a healthy advantage in rebounding, 40-23, with 6-foot-2 sophomore Kelton Schuckman pulling down 15.
Bebermeyer finished with 14 points to lead the Trojans, who stand at 2-10 for the season, while McCarty added 10. The Monarchs, who were seeded seventh at the Classic at 2-5, had no one in double figures, but had five players with six points or more.
(Free Press photos by Brad Wiseman}