The Hillsboro basketball teams played on their home court for only the second time this season, and the results were a mixed bag as the Trojans split their games with their guests from Smoky Valley.
The Trojan girls got off to a bumpy start, then stumbled into an abyss of turnovers and poor shooting in the second half on the way to a 42-33 defeat. The Trojan boys survived a shaky finish to hold off the Vikings, 61-56. Both Hills?boro teams are now 6-2 for the season.
GIRLS — Considering Hillsboro committed eight turnovers and managed only three field-goal attempts — and still led 7-4 at the first break — should have been an omen of things to come. By halftime the Trojans built a 17-10 lead, offsetting their 14 turnovers in the first half with 5-for-10 shooting from the field and 6-for-8 free-throw shooting.
Winning ugly is still a win, but little did Trojan fans know just how ugly the game would become. Tas Sanchez and Callie Linnens scored a couple of baskets in the first two minutes to bump Hillsboro?s lead to a high of 21-12. Then the abyss opened.
Through the end of the third quarter, Hillsboro made only two more field goals and committed 10 more turnovers, including a string of eight on consecutive possessions midway through the period. Despite all of that, the Trojans miraculously were still leading as the period ended, 28-26.
Then bad got worse. The Trojans shot 2-for-19 from the floor during the fourth quarter and made one of five free throws. Meanwhile, Smoky Valley looked like all-league contenders as they outscored the home team, 16-5, to steal the win.
For the game, the Trojans finished with 33 turnovers, shot 24 percent from the field (11-45) and were out-rebounded by a smaller team, 43-27. For the Vikings, the win was their third straight since the start of league play after going winless in non-league action.
BOYS — Hillsboro played a couple of consistent halves against a scrappy Smoky Valley team. The Trojans led 15-10 after one quarter and 31-24 at halftime. The duo of Austin Cross and Darian Ratzlaff contributed 17 points, Ratzlaff 9 and Cross 8.
After Preston Loewen opened the second half with a three-pointer and Cross and Carson Herbel each added a two-point bucket, Hillsboro?s lead reached a new high of 38-26 with 4:54 to play in the third quarter. The Trojans managed only one more field goal — a three by Ratzlaff with 27 seconds left — to lead 43-35 as the quarter ended.
In the final quarter, Loewen hit another three, Ratzlaff added a two-pointer on a drive into the lane and Braden Vogt contributed a basket in the paint with an assist from Loewen as the Trojans? lead grew to 50-35 with 6:28 to play. When Joe Knoll scored on a drive to the hole with 2:19 to go, Hills?boro enjoyed its largest lead of the game at 56-41.
Smoky?s late surge began with a bucket by Trey Schneider with 1:16 to play. When Nick Reinert hit a deep three with 12.5 seconds left, the lead had shriveled to 59-54. Single free throws by Elias Werth and Loewen offset one final Smoky basket in the final 10 seconds to nail down the 61-56 victory.
Ratzlaff finished with 18 points, Cross added 14 and Loewen 10 to fuel the Trojans, who shot 48 percent (23-48) from the floor as a team. Smoky managed 38 percent accuracy (23-60) and were led by 14 points by both Schneider and Reinert.