Hillsboro boys 2nd at Trojan Classic, girls place 4th

It was a Holcomb finale night at the Trojan Classic on Saturday. In the boys’ championship game, Hills­boro reduced a 26-7 first half Longhorn lead to single digits in the fourth quarter, but the No. 2 team in Class 4A-Div. II fended off a Hillsboro comeback with a 55-42 victory in the championship game.

The Hillsboro girls played Holcomb point for point in the first half of their third-place game, but the Trojans faded in the second half in a 48-35 loss for fourth place.

BOYS—A talented Holcomb squad showed its prowess on defense from the start, smothering Trojan shooters not only in the lane but on the perimeter as well.

Hillsboro made only one of 15 shots in the opening period, and that was a bucket in the lane by Elias Werth at the 6:42 mark. Darian Ratzlaff added a pair of free throws a minute later. A free throw by Werth at the 2:05 was all the offense Hillsboro could muster.

The second quarter was even more frustrating for the home team. Wes Shaw managed a 2-point basket at the 5:30 mark, but that was the only score of the quarter. Holcomb led at halftime, 26-7. Unofficially, the Trojans made only two of 28 field-goal attempts in the half.

The second half was distinctly different from the first one. Shaw scored 45 seconds into the third quarter, and added a second basket at the 5:52 mark. When Ratzlaff drained a 3-pointer at the 4:31 mark, the deficit was down to 37-22. When Shaw scored in the final 4 seconds of the quarter, Hillsboro trailed 40-29.

Hillsboro kept up the pressure down the stretch. When Ratzlaff scored off a steal by Werth, the Trojans were within eight points (48-40) with 3:06 to play. But Holcomb isn’t highly ranked for succumbing to comebacks. The Longhorns finished the game with a 7-2 surge as the Trojans were called for fouls trying to make a stop.

Werth led the Trojans with 25 points — all but three came in the second half. Shaw finished with 10 points, but struggled against the Longhorn defense with a 5-for-18 effort for the game. As a team, the Trojans shot 26 percent (15-58) from the floor, including 3-for-12 from three.

Holcomb was led by Kobe Dickson with 18 points. The Longhorns shot 41 percent (21-51) for the game, and had a 48-29 edge in rebounding.

With a 2-1 record in the tournament, Hillsboro, ranked sixth in Class 2A, will enter a week off from competition with an 11-2 record.

GIRLS—The Hillsboro girls stayed with Holcomb for a solid half, but the Longhorns gradually pulled away in the second half to claim a 48-35 victory over the Trojans for third place at the Trojan Classic on Saturday.

Hillsboro led 8-7 midway through the opening quarter, but a streak of four consecutive turnovers followed by three missed shots enabled Holcomb to establish a 13-8 lead as the quarter ended.

When Abby Sechrist hit a 3-point basket at the 5:40 mark of the second quarter, Hills­boro was back in the battle by cutting Holcomb’s lead to 15-13.

But the Trojans hit another rough stretch after Sechrist’s basket. Four turnovers and three missed shots later, freshman Kinsey Kleiner finally broke the slump with a 3-point basket with 42 seconds left in the half, bringing Hillsboro to within one point, 17-16, by intermission.

The Longhorns stampeded the Trojans as the third quarter began. Trinity Malm scored in the first minute, but the Trojans didn’t score again until Sienna Kaufman scored at the midway mark. Kleiner hit her second 3-pointer of the game with 1:41 left — but unfortunately, Holcomb was scoring 16 points during the drought and established a 33-22 lead heading as the third quarter ended.

Hillsboro’s competitiveness returned in the fourth quarter. On the way to the finish line, the Trojans scoring points on eight of their nine possessions. When Teegan Werth drove the lane and scored, Hills­boro was within 40-34 with 3:13 to play.

As it turned out, Hills­boro managed only one free throw the rest of the way, while Holcomb scored eight more points on 8-for-8 shooting at the free-throw line to secure the third-place plaque with a 13-point victory.

Werth led Hillsboro with 10 points, Sechrist and Kaufman added eight. The Trojans shot 32 percent (13-41) from the floor. Eboni Sapien led the Longhorns with 18 points. The team shot 31 percent (15-49) from the floor.

With their 1-2 record during the Classic, the Trojans will take a week off from games before taking their 7-6 record to Council Grove on Jan. 30. The Braves are ranked No. 4 in Class 3A.