Coming off a 10-day stretch without a game, thanks to wintry weather, the Hillsboro Trojans took to their home court Tuesday for the first round of the Class 2A sub-state tournament in Hillsboro. The Trojans, seeded No. 2 in the tournament, took care of Goessel, the No. 7 seed, with a 64-24 running-clock victory.
With the Trojans adjusting to live competition again, the Bluebirds stayed with the Trojans for most of the first quarter. With 1:20 to go, Goessel trailed only 11-8. But the Trojans added three more points in the final 35 seconds for a 14-5 lead at the first break.
The momentum changed abruptly as the second quarter began. Elias Werth hit a 2-pointer and Darian Ratzlaff nailed a 3-pointer for a 19-8 lead barely a minute into the quarter.
Wes Shaw, Hillsboro’s 6-2 post, took over from there, scoring eight points in the quarter as the Trojans turned on the gas for a 40-16 lead by halftime. By then, Hillsboro had three players scoring in double figures: Werth 14, Ratzlaff 11 and Shaw 10.
Even though, the outcome was essentially determined as the teams returned from their respective locker room. The Trojans didn’t slow down, launching a 16-5 run capped by Caleb Rempel’s back-to-back 3-point baskets for a 52-19 lead with 2:40 left in the quarter.
With the Trojans leading 60-21 as the third quarter ended, the fourth quarterwas played with a running clock, by KSHSAA rules. Coach Darrel Knoll substuted freely to the final buzzer that signaled the 40-point victory.
Werth led the Trojans with 18 points, Shaw added 16 and Ratzlaff 13. The victory improves Hillsboro’s record 15-5 while Goessel finishes 3-17.
Hillsboro moves on to the semifinals with a game Moundridge, who defeated and Herington in their first-round game. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Robert C. Brown Gymnasium.