Hillsboro girls win, boys lose in Trojan Classic first round

Hillsboro?s basketball teams opened play at the Trojan Classic on a cold and slick Tuesday night with mixed results. The Hillsboro girls defeated Holcomb, 41-34, while the boys lost to Sunrise Christian Academy, 59-48.

GIRLS — The Trojans found themselves trailing the Longhorns 17-9 after one quarter. Hillsboro took an early 6-3 lead a minute and half into the game, but scored only three more points the rest of the quarter. Meanwhile, Holcomb made seven of 12 shots from the floor, including one three, to put the host team in a precarious position.

At that the point, the Trojans became far less hospitable on the defensive end, limiting the Longhorns to 1-for-10 shooting, and forcing five turnovers. A pair of three-point baskets from Savannah Unruh helped Hillsboro close the margin to 22-17 by halftime.

In the third quarter, Hills?boro continued its defensive pressure, and with Alex Ratzlaff heating up after a slow start, the Trojans tied Holcomb at 22 at the 5:04 mark on a pair of Ratzlaff free throws. The senior then added seven more points as Hillsboro built a 29-24 lead with 2:20 left. Unruh hit her third three-pointer with 1:10 left to give the Trojans a 32-24 lead as the third quarter ended.

Holcomb rallied to pull to within 35-33 with 3:03 left in the game, but Sienna Kaufman, Tassannee Sanchez and Ratzlaff combined to shoot 6-for-6 from the free-throw line while the team limited the Longhorns to only one point the rest of the way.

Ratzlaff finished with 12 points to lead Hillsboro, Unruh had nine point on her three three-pointers and Sanchez chipped in eight points. As a team the Trojans shot just over 24 percent from the field (9-37), while Holcomb managed 27 percent (12-44) in a defense-oriented contest.

BOYS — Sunrise Chris?tian?s overall size and athleticism simply wore down the Trojans as their game went along.

Hillsboro trailed only 18-13 after one quarter, thanks in part to an off-balance three-point basket at the buzzer by Darian Ratzlaff. The Trojans inched to within 24-22 with 3:29 remaining in the first half after Preston Loewen and Joe Knoll scored 18 seconds a part on drives to the basket. But Hillsboro managed only one free throw the rest of the quarter, and trailed 30-23 at intermission.

The Trojans came out firing as the third quarter began. Elias Werth hit a three from the top of the key, Carson Herbel added a pair of free throws and Loewen nailed a 17-foot jumper for the 7-0 run.

Unfortunately, Hillsboro shot blanks over the next 3:30 while the Longhorns reeled off a 10-0 run of their own. The streak ended when Ratzlaff scored at the 2:52 mark. Werth followed with a three to make it 40-35, but a dunk by Holcomb?s Marcus Fager ended the scoring for the quarter.

The two teams traded scores for much of the fourth quarter. When Knoll hit a three at the 3:16 mark, Hillsboro was within seven at 52-45. But a 5-0 spurt by the Longhorns over the next 2:25 gave the visitors 57-45 lead with less than two minutes to play to take control of the contest.

Ratzlaff finished with a team-high 11 points and Knoll added 10. As a team, the Trojans shot just under 30 percent for the game (17-57). Meanwhile, the Long?horns had four players in double figures: Alex Wyatt with 16, Fager with 15, Brett Howie with 12 and Jon Dunn with 11. As team, Holcomb shot 47 percent from the floor (24-51).

NEXT ROUND — The Hillsboro girls will play in the championship semifinals Friday at 6 p.m. when they take on Hesston in Brown Gymnasium. The Swathers defeated Sunrise, 47-23, in their first-round game.

The Hillsboro boys will play Riley County in the consolation semifinals starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Tabor College gymnasium. Riley lost to undefeated Holcomb, 61-27, on Tuesday.

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