Hillsboro boys reach Classic finals, HHS girls fall in overtime

Jesse Allen drives for a lay-in past Riley County's Calvin Kenney. For the second game in a row, the fifth-seeded Hillsboro boys upset a higher seeded team in a nail-biting finish, this time knocking off No. 1 Riley County, 50-48, to earn a spot in the Trojan Classic finals on Saturday against Hesston.

The No. 1 seeded Hillsboro girls, meanwhile, were on the other side of the upset, losing to fifth-seeded Thomas More Prep in overtime, 49-45. The girls will play Goodland for third place on Saturday.

BOYS? GAME

Trailing 36-34 after three quarters, Riley climbed into the lead, 45-42, with a 7-0 surge midway through the fourth period. But freshman Christian Ratzlaff responded with a driving layup, then hit one of two free throws seconds later after Riley?s Joel Garver was whistled for a technical foul at the 2:23 mark. On the ensuing possession, freshman Brett Weinbrenner hit the second of his two three-points shots in the final quarter to put HHS back in front, 48-45, with 2:07 left.

Neither team scored again until Will Seaton hit a basket for Riley with 38.5 seconds to go. Hillsboro?s Jesse Allen was fouled six seconds later and, in a scene reminiscent of Tuesday?s finish against Wamego, the junior drained both ends of a one-and-one to put the Trojans ahead, 50-47.

Seaton went to the line with 14.6 seconds with his own one-and-one challenge, but missed the second charity. The Trojans tied up the ball on the rebound and were awarded possession with 10.7 seconds left.

Weinbrenner, fouled off the inbounds pass, had a chance to salt the game away with a successful one-and-one with 8.0 seconds to go. But when his first free throw bounced off the rim, Riley rebounded and called time out with 7.7 seconds left.

The Falcons got the inbounds pass into the Garver, who drove the length of the floor and put up a makeable layup in the lane against two Trojan defenders. But the ball bounced off the back of the rim a moment before the buzzer sounded.

The Trojan seemed to be in peril early in the contest when Riley jumped ahead 8-1 after the first five minutes. But Jarod Hamm came off the bench to hit two three-pointers in a span of two minutes, and Josh Wiebe followed with a basket in the final seconds to pull HHS to within 12-9 after one quarter.

Hillsboro got two more baskets from Hamm and from fellow substitute Tyrell Thiessen to help propel HHS into the lead by halftime, 27-23. Christian Ratzlaff ignited the rally, coming off the bench to hit a three-pointer 21 seconds into the second period. In all, six Trojans contributed points during the uprising.

The Trojans entered the final quarter with a 36-34 lead.

For the second game in the tournament, Hamm and Ratzlaff led the Trojan attack, this time with 10 points apiece as the Trojans improved to 7-5 for the season.

The championship game with Hesston will begin at 8 p.m. in Brown Gymnasium.

GIRLS? GAME

The Trojan girls led their semifinal game with TMP through most of three quarters, taking an 8-7 after one quarter when Tena Loewen scored in the post with three seconds left.

After TMP regained the lead with an 8-2 surge to start the second period, the Trojans rallied with an 11-2 surge in the final 3:28 to lead at intermission, 21-17.

When TMP went to a zone defense to start the second half, the Trojans struggle to score. Krista Reimer started the third quarter with two free throws and Loewen scored in the paint within the first two minutes, but Hillsboro didn?t score again until Addie Lackey scored in the paint with 1:45 to go in the period. Another bucket by Lackey helped the Trojans maintain a 29-28 lead heading into the final quarter.

But HHS?struggled in the stretch run, missing its first six shots before Lackey broke the ice with a basket at the 2:38 mark. By then, TMP?had taken advantage of the Trojan lull to build a 36-29 lead.

Lackey followed with a traditional three-point play with 2:05 to play to pull HHS?to within two points, 36-34. TMP responded with a pair of free throws and a basket to push its lead back to 40-23. But Allie Faul drilled a huge three-pointer for Hillsboro with 48 seconds to go to make the score 40-37.

After a couple of turnovers by TMP and a missed one-and-one opportunity by Hillsboro, Lackey drained a three from the wing with 27.5 second left to tie the game at 40.

After another TMP turnover, the Trojans had a chance to win in the final seconds, but a shot in the post by a heavily defended Lackey bounced away and the buzzer sounded the end of regulation as players scrambled for the rebound.

Momentum swung TMP?s way early in the overtime period when Rachel Jacobs made a pair of free throws, then scored on a steal and a layup within a span of 19 seconds. Hillsboro came back with a basket by Loewen and one of two free throws by Lackey to pull within 44-43 with 2:06 to go. When TMP?s Heather Ruder cashed in two Hillsboro turnovers by hitting three of four free thows, the Falcons led 47-43 with 1:39 to go.

Loewen scored 10 seconds later, and Lackey had a chance to tie the contest after she was fouled after making a steal. But the freshman missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:10 to go. Hillsboro got off only one more shot off the rest of the way, while Ruder secured the victory by making two four free throws in the final 25 seconds.

Loewen and Lackey finished as Hillsboro?s leading scorers with 15 points a piece. Ruder scored 19 for TMP, including 12 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Hillsboro will play Goodland for third place at 2:45 p.m. in Brown Gymnasium.

More from Hillsboro Free Press
Tabor preps for KCAC meet at Southwestern
Foul weather wiped out most of the Southwestern Relays Saturday in Winfield,...
Read More