The Hesston basketball juggernaut survived its trip into Brown Gymnasium with a pair of victories over Hillsboro Friday. The Swather teams came into the evening with a combined record of 29-1, faced a couple of determined Trojan squads. After a great start, the Trojan girls simply lost their shooting touch and dropped a 47-28 decision to the visitors, while the Hillsboro boys lost a heartbreaker when Hesston scored a last-second layup to claim a 45-43 in physical defensive battle. The Hillsboro girls are now 12-5 for the season and the boys 14-3.
GIRLS — The Trojans were out to gain revenge on the 12-point loss they absorbed to Hesston during the Trojan Classic, and it appeared in the early going that they might just find a way to overcome Hesston?s height and depth advantage. When Addie Lackey sank a pair of free throws with 1:31 left in the first quarter, Hillsboro led 10-7, but Hesston came back to tie the game at 10 as the quarter ended.
Hesston hit a pair of free throws to start the second period, but a three-pointer by Alex Ratzlaff gave Hills?boro one last lead at 13-12 at the 5:45 mark. But from that point on, Hillsboro simply struggled to put the ball in the basket. The Trojans managed only one more field goal the rest of the period, and couldn?t find a way to stop Hesston?s inside attack. By halftime, the Trojans trailed 26-16.
The third quarter followed a similar course with Hillsboro shooting only 3-for-12 from the field — even though two of the baskets were threes by Lackey and Danae Bina. It was only the Trojans? great defensive effort that limited Hesston to only a 12-point lead after three periods, 36-24.
Needing points quickly, the Trojans fell into the difficult trap of rushing their shots and coming up empty. Hesston took advantage and pushed the margin to 19 points by the end of the game.
The Trojans ended up with 24 percent shooting (9-37) for the night, while Hesston shot 43 percent (16-37). Lackey led the Trojans with 15 points while Bina added nine. The other two Trojans who scored combined for a mere four points. Caylee Richard?son led Hesston with 12 points.
BOYS — In contrast to the girls? game, the boys? game was a nail-biter practically from start to finish. Hesston led 12-11 after one quarter, but Hillsboro tied the game by halftime, 22-22.
Despite three straight turnovers to start the third period, Hillsboro?s defensive effort limited the Swathers to only three points and three turnovers. That?s when the Trojans? senior point guard Brett Weinbrenner took charge, hitting four consecutive field goals from the 4:15 mark to the 1:42 mark to give Hillsboro a 30-27 lead. The Trojans maintained that three-point edge as the quarter ended, 32-29.
Hillsboro?s only scoring in the first 5:10 of the final quarter came from the free-throw line as Evan Ollen?burger and Christian Ratzlaff combined for six straight makes. When Ratzlaff made his final two with 2:50 to go, he tied the game at 38.
Hesston went up 41-38 when Wyatt McKinney competed a three-point play when he was fouled by Ollenburger on a layup basket. But the Hillsboro senior came right back with two more free throws to pull the Trojans to within 41-40 with 2:17 left. When Ratzlaff followed that with a three-pointer from the wing with 1:24 to go, the home crowd roared with a 43-41 lead.
Hesston?s Tyler McKin?ney then made both ends of a one-and-one to tie the game with 1:07 to go. Hillsboro ran the clock down to 15.5 seconds before coach Darrel Knoll called a timeout to set up a final shot. However, the Trojans couldn?t find an opening, and with time winding down, Weinbrenner launched an off-balance three from the corner. But the ball bounced off the side of the backboard, and into the hands of the Swathers with about 3 seconds to go. Racing up the court, Grant Raleigh scored the winning layup as the buzzer sounded. The jubilant Swathers kept their undefeated season and No. 1 ranking in Class 3A intact by the narrowest of escapes.
Ratzlaff led the Trojans with 17 points and Wein?brenner finished with 15. Hesston had three double-digit scorers: McKinney and McCartney with 13 each and Ryan Schadler with 11.