Excellent defense and rebounding more than offset a sub-par shooting night as the Hills?boro boys dominated Southeast of Saline, 52-34, in the first round of sub-state play Monday in Brown Gymnasium.
The opening quarter was a clear example of that winning formula. The Trojans enjoyed a 13-6 lead despite making only five of 15 shots from the field. The defense, meanwhile, limited a taller Southeast squad to 3-for-11 shooting and hardly a single offensive rebound.
By halftime, the Trojans led 24-12, aided by Shaq Thiessen?s nine points.
Hillsboro pushed the margin to 19 points at 35-16 when Brandon Rooker sank a pair of free throws with 2:52 left in the third quarter.
The Trojans opened the final period with a 37-20 advantage. Southeast pulled to within 46-34 with 1:36 to go, but Hillsboro didn?t allow another point the rest of the way while making six of 10 free throws down the stretch.
Thiessen finished as the game?s top scorer with 19 points. As a team, the Trojans shot just under 37 percent (19-52) from the floor and only 3-for-15 (25 percent) from behind the arc.
Southeast, meanwhile, made 15 of 46 shots (32 percent) from the field, and only two of 12 (17 percent) from 3-point range.
?I thought we were sharp defensively,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?We played solid, we played hard. We contested shots and I thought we blocked out well all the way around. I was very pleased with our effort.
?I thought for the most part we anticipated pretty much everything they were going to do.?
With the win, Hillsboro improved to 17-4 while Southeast finished its season with an 10-11 record.
Hillsboro will square off against Remington at 6 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals of the sub-state tournament at Sedgwick. If the Trojans win that game, they would play for the tournament championship and a berth at state at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.