The Hillsboro High School boys closed the book on a long and frustrating season Monday with a 66-38 loss to Halstead in the first round of sub-state play.
The final game of the season followed a familiar story line: The Trojans played a competitive first half only to fade in the second one.
Halstead jumped to a quick 7-0 lead before Nathan Vogel drained a 3-pointer from the wing at the 5:00 mark to put Hillsboro on the board.
The Dragons extended the margin to 15-5 before Mason McCarty hit back-to-back buckets and Vogel added a driving layup along the baseline to pull the Trojans to within 17-11 at the first break.
The two teams played to a standoff in the second. Hillsboro pulled as close as 25-21 when Jesse Allen hit four straight free throws. But the Dragons bumped the margin to 29-23 by intermission.
The Trojans stumbled out of the gate in the third quarter, as Halstead capitalized on turnovers to build a 38-26 lead with a 9-3 run. The bulge grew to 46-28 before Vogel added three more points in the final 1:21 to pull his team back to within 46-31 at the final break.
One more Dragon surge, this one going 15-5 through the first 4:31, settled the outcome and both coaches emptied their benches for the final stretch.
Vogel finished his Trojan career in style, scoring 15 points and being the team?s only consistent weapon.
As a team, the Hillsboro boys shot 15-for-40 (38) from the floor while the Dragons made 23 of 38 (61 percent).
The loss ended Hillsboro?s season at 2-19, marking the first losing season for coach Darrel Knoll in 21 years at the HHS helm.