Hillsboro hoopsters open 2016 with a sweep of Lyons

Hillsboro basketball teams started the new year on a positive note, sweeping Lyons on the road Tuesday night. The Trojan girls got a team-high 14 points from Callie Linnens to avenge their only loss of the season with a 53-46 victory. The Trojan boys, meanwhile, killed a fourth-quarter Lyons rally with a pair of long-range bombs and went on to post a 49-37 win. Both teams are now 5-1 for the season.

GIRLS — On a night when team leader Alex Ratzlaff was not quite on her game, the Trojans compensated with significant points from several usually quiet contributors.

Hillsboro got off to a rough start, committing nine turnovers and managing only one field goal through the first 5:32 of the game. But when Callie Linnens scored her first bucket of the night deep in the post, the Trojans tied the game at 7-7 at the 2:28 mark. Four more unanswered points at the free-throw line lifted Hills?boro to an 11-7 lead at the first break — despite making only two of 10 shots from the floor. The Trojans did cash in on seven of 10 charity opportunities.

By halftime, Hillsboro had bumped the lead to 23-16 with Linnens contributing nine of those points. Ratzlaff, who came in averaging more than 19 points, managed only four before intermission. Savannah Unruh nailed a three-pointer in the final minute to give her team a lift.

Hillsboro played its best ball in the third quarter, stretching the lead to 37-24 when Sienna Kaufman scored on a put-back with 46 seconds left in the period.

But Lyons did not fold. Scoring mostly from the free-throw line through the first two minutes, the Lions? sharpshooting guards began making their three-point shots — four in the final 4:20 — narrowing the lead to 50-46 with 28 seconds to play. Fittingly, Linnens, who sat out the third quarter because of foul trouble, scored the final two points of the contest on a pair of free throws with 3.4 seconds left.

In addition to Linnens? and Unruh?s contributions on offense, Rebecca Kauf?man and Paige Proffitt each scored a season-high six points.

BOYS — Hillsboro led from start to finish in their game, but when Lyons? Tyler Edwards hit back-to-back buckets to start the fourth quarter, the Trojans? lead — as high as 34-22 with 3:42 left in the third quarter — had shriveled 37-35 with 5:56 to play in the game.

Coming off a timeout called by Lyons after Edwards? second basket, the Trojans stuck the proverbial dagger in the Lions? heart when Braden Vogt and Preston Loewen hit back-to-back threes over a 38-second span to push the lead back up to 43-35. Darian Ratzlaff added a couple of free throws a minute and a half later to inflate the margin to 10. A frustrated Lyons coach pulled his starters shortly thereafter and Hillsboro cruised to the win.

Loewen and Elias Werth finished as high-point scorers for HHS with nine points apiece. Austin Cross chipped in seven, Carson Herbel and Vogt each scored six and Ratzlaff and Joe Knoll added five each. Hillsboro?s edge on offense came from eight three-point baskets (out of 16 attempts) to one three-pointer (out of five attempts) by Lyons. At the free-throw line, Hillsboro shot 9-for-15 while Lyons made two of only six opportunities.

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