Hillsboro?s teams had mixed results for the third and final round of the 22nd Annual Trojan Classic on Saturday. The Trojan boys used an outstanding fourth quarter to earn fifth-place in the tournament with a 49-33 win over Republic County.
The Trojan girls meanwhile, struggled to score against a physical and talented Riley County squad in the third-place game. Hills?boro finished on the short end of a 46-34 score for fourth place.
BOYS — For three quarters, Hillsboro and Republic County were locked in a defense-oriented standoff. The Trojans led 7-3 after two minutes, but a basket by the Lane Shoemaker brought the Buffaloes to within 11-10 at the first break.
By halftime, the Trojans led 20-18 as both teams shot a tepid 35 percent from the floor. At the end of the third quarter, Republic County held a 31-30 advantage after taking its first lead of the game at 26-25 with 2:36 left in the period.
But the Trojans took control from there, starting the final period with a 9-2 run through the first 3:27 with two baskets by Austin Cross and two by Darian Ratzlaff, including a three-pointer. The Trojans didn?t score another field goal the rest of the game — but didn?t need to. The free-throw line was an adequate substitute. Hillsboro had not shot a free throw all game until Ratzlaff was fouled with 2:43 left in the contest. Ratzlaff made both ends of the one-and-one, setting a standard matched by Cross (three consecutive times) and Braden Vogt for a 10-0 free-throw run over the final 2:43.
Cross, playing one of his most productive games so far, led the Trojans with 18 points plus multiple rebounds and a bunch of blocked and altered shots on defense. Ratzlaff added 11 points, and it was his playmaking early in the fourth quarter that turned the tide of the game.
GIRLS — The Trojans looked weary as they struggled to score against a quality Riley County team. Hillsboro enjoyed its only lead of the afternoon when Marah Franz drilled a three-pointer 28 seconds into the contest for a 3-2 advantage.
Unfortunately, the Trojans didn?t score again until Tassanee Sanchez made a layup in the paint with 1:05 left in the quarter. Because the Falcons were having shooting troubles of their own, they led only 11-7, which held up until the quarter ended.
Sanchez scored a layup at the 6:01 mark of the second period, but the Trojans didn?t manage another field goal until Sanchez scored a layup with 6:13 left in the third period — a drought of nearly 8 minutes. At that point the Trojans, who did hit a couple of free throws during that dry spell, trailed the Falcons 26-14. By the end of the quarter the lead grew to 30-14.
Sanchez was the Ener?gizer Bunny for Hillsboro, slicing and dicing through the Falcon defenders for 14 fourth-quarter points and a team-high 20 points for the game.
Unofficially, the Trojans shot a chilly 21.3 percent (13-61) for the game. Riley cashed in 19 of 47 shots, many of them rebounds and backdoor baskets, for 40.4 percent accuracy. With the loss, the Trojan girls? record slips to 8-4.