Hillsboro secures sweep at Smoky Valley


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Basketball games aren’t determined by style points. Fortunately, Hillsboro’s basketball teams scored enough points on the scoreboard to secure a pair of victories Tuesday at Smoky Valley. The Trojan girls seemed out of sync for much of the game, but still won by 29 points, 55-26, while the boys gutted out a 34-28 victory.

The sweep bumped the HHS girls to 5-0 in the Central Kansas League and 15-1 for the season, while boys improved to 4-1 and 10-6.

GIRLS - Unless you were aware of the team records, you wouldn’t have guessed this game was a matchup between the first-place team and the last-place team in the CKL. Hillsboro was never truly threatened by the Vikings, but struggled to take control the contest in the early going.

The Trojan got off to a 5-0 start, but didn’t score again until Maci Schlehuber drove the lane, made the bucket, then added a bonus free throw with 3:00 left. The quarter ended with HHS leading, 12-6.

With Tena Loewen stepping up on the offensive end with eight points in the second quarter, Hillsboro led by 17 at the half, 29-12. Loewen had 13 points by intermission.

Addie Lackey, who struggled in the first quarter, found her touch midway through the third quarter, scoring six consecutive points in a minute’s span to push the lead to 29-17 with 4:09 left. Hillsboro led 46-21 by the end of the quarter, despite making only four of eight free throws. In fact, the Trojans missed the last seven free throws they shot in the game, but another scoring burst by Lackey — this time nine consecutive points in less than two minutes — pushed the lead to 55-23, kicking in the running clock for the final 4:16.

Loewen led led the Trojans with 17 points and Lackey finished with 16 for HHS. The loss dropped the Vikings to 0-5 in the league and 2-14 for the season.

BOYS - The Trojans stepped into a back-and-forth contest at the start, taking a 12-10 lead at the end of one quarter on a Brett Weinbrenner basket with 35 seconds left.

The Trojans seemed ready to take control when Shaq Thiessen hit back-to-back baskets in a 13-second span, and Weinbrenner added a traditional three-point play 35 seconds later to put the Trojans up by seven, 19-12. But Smokey Valley’s Andy Osner scored seven points in the final 4:35 — including a three-pointer with 35 seconds left in the quarter — to cut the lead to 24-20 by halftime. Osner was a pain in Hillsboro’s side all night long, scoring all eight of his team’s points in the third quarter. His first two baskets offset two by Thiessen, but the Trojans then put together a 6-0 slow surge with four points from Josh Wiebe and two free throws by Jesse Brown to finally push the lead to double digits at 34-24. But Osner scored his second two baskets of the quarter in the final 19 seconds to cut the lead to 34-28 at the break.

Hillsboro stumbled out of the gate in the fourth quarter, missing three shots from the field and three of four free throws, then turning the ball over twice. The result was Smoky Valley inched within 35-32 with 6:04 left in the game.

At that point, struggling against the Vikings’ zone defense, the Trojans opted to run clock. Almost two minutes later, Thiessen sank a 15-footer to boost the lead to 37-32. After trading turnovers, followed by a missed shot by Smoky Valley, Hillsboro drained the clock again before Evan Ollenburger was fouled with 43.4 seconds to go, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Smoky rebounded, then turned the ball over. Brett Weinbrenner found an open Josh Wiebe in the lane for a fast-break basket with 39 seconds left to put Hillsboro up by seven, 39-32.

But it was too early to breathe easily. Osner hit a big three-point shot with 18 seconds left to give the Vikings a whiff of hope.

Following a Viking timeout, Brown was fouled with 15.8 seconds left. He missed the front end of another one-and-one, the Vikings rebounded and Osner launched a shot from behind the arc…but it fell well short of the basket and sailed out of bounds with 8.4 seconds left. Weinbrenner was fouled after the inbounds pass and then made both free throws for the final six-point margin.

Thiessen finished with a team-high 13 points and Weinbrenner was right behind with 12. Osner led all scorers with 18 points.

COMING - Hillsboro will travel to Hesston Friday to face a pair of talented Swather teams. Both teams were sporting a 13-2 record going into Tuesday night.

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