One quarter of effective offense proved to be the difference in the Hillsboro boys? 48-44 win over Remington in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state at Sedgwick Thursday night.
The Trojans struggled to make a shot in the first period, missing their first seven attempts and managing only three baskets in 14 the rest of the way. But Hillsboro?s defense was enough to keep the game close. Shaq Thiessen?s bucket at the buzzer pulled HHS to within 7-6 at the first break.
Thiessen scored in the paint on a great pass from Brett Weinbrenner only 24 seconds into the second period to ignite an 8-0 run that vaulted the Trojans into a 12-7 lead, thanks in part to three Bronco turnovers. Josh Wiebe, Wein?brenner and Thiessen provided the other three baskets during the run.
Remington rallied with their only two field goals of the quarter, but Hillsboro finished the period with a 5-1 run to lead at intermission, 19-12.
The third quarter turned out to be a 14-14 standoff. But it took Jesse Allen?s four straight free-throws on consecutive one-and-one situations in the final 1:04 to enable Hillsboro to maintain its seven-point lead as the quarter ended, 33-26.
With the score 37-32 midway throw the final quarter, Allen hit two more free throws followed by a steal and basket to expand the Hillsboro?s lead to 41-33 with 3:11 to play.
After baskets by Hillsboro?s Christian Ratzlaff and Remington?s Caleb Tanner, the Trojans had a chance to nail down the victory at the free-throw line. But Thiessen and Josh Wiebe combined for 1-for-6 shooting in a span from 55.8 seconds to 15.8 seconds left in the game. Remington pulled to within two points at 46-44 when Kyle Regier drained a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left.
After a Bronco timeout, Weinbrenner was fouled on the inbounds pass and, with 1.6 seconds showing, calmly sank both free throws with the double-bonus to clinch the victory at 48-44.
Thiessen finished as the top scorer for Hillsboro with 13 points and Allen finished with 11 as the Trojans improved to 18-4 for the year and, more importantly, assured themselves of a berth in the championship game for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The Trojans will be seeking their first trip to state since the 2003-04 season when the play Moundridge at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Wildcats defeated Sedgwick, 57-52, in the late game on Thursday.