Hillsboro sweeps Sterling by 20-plus-point margins

Hillsboro?s basketball teams showed no rust coming off of two days of snow vacation, taking care of Sterling on Thursday in a pair of make-up games that had been originally scheduled for this past Tuesday. The Trojan girls led from start to en route to a 51-28 victory while the boys came back from a 12-7 deficit after one quarter to rip the Black Bears by a surprising margin of 60-39.

GIRLS? GAME

Hillsboro used balanced scoring and a strong defensive effort to dismantle Sterling early. The Trojans led by a modest 13-7 margin after one quarter, but took firm control with an 18-5 second quarter to lead 31-12 at halftime. Nine Trojans scored by intermission, but none with more than four points.

The Trojans hit a bumpy patch in the second half of the third quarter, managing only three points on a traditional three-point play by Tena Loewen, and turning the ball over six times — but still outscored the Black Bears 10-7 for a 41-19 margin heading into the final period.

Baskets by Addie Lackey, Krista Reimer, Elise Heyen and Amy Bartel created an 8-0 Hillsboro run to start the last quarter. When Bartel scored, the margin hit 30 points and the continuous clock kicked in with 4:20 to play. Sterling finished with a 9-2 run to narrow the margin to 23 points at the end.

Loewen led HHS with seven points, but 10 girls made it into the scoring column before the game was over, seven contributing five or more points. The win boosts HHS to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in Central Kansas League play. Sterling fell to 7-7 and 0-4.

BOYS? GAME

Hillsboro appeared to be headed for a tough night as Sterling used its size and athleticism to take a 12-7 lead after one quarter when the Black Bears? Austin Maxwell hit a lunging three-pointer at the buzzer.

Hillsboro scrapped its way back into a tie at 14-14 when Christian Ratzlaff drained a three-pointer from the top of the key at the 5:29 mark of the second period. The Trojans took the lead for good when Jarod Hamm scored in the paint off an assist by Caleb Hilliard for an 18-17 edge with 3:16 to go. Brett Weinbrenner then put HHS into the driver?s seat with back-to-back three pointers, one at 2:25 and the second at 1:43. A traditional three-point play by Ratzlaff gave HHS a 27-19 lead at intermission.

After the two teams traded buckets to start the third quarter, the freshman duo of Weinbrenner and Ratzlaff struck again, scoring Hillsboro?s next 11 points, including three three-pointers, over a 4:30 stretch midway through the period to give HHS a 40-27 lead. Ben Bebermeyer added a nice layup with four seconds left to bump the score to 42-29 at the final break.

Sterling then launched a brief surge the narrowed the gap to 46-37 with 4:12 to go, but HHS came out of a timeout with a surprising offensive boost from seldom-used junior Brandon Rooker, who entered the game for the first time and scored five points over a span of less than two minutes. The Trojans took care of business at the free-throw line down the home stretch, hitting 10 of 13 to seal the 21-point win and avenge a seven-point loss at Sterling back in December.

Weinbrenner finished with 16 points and Ratzlaff 15 to pace HHS (9-7, 4-1 CKL). Maxwell scored 15 to lead Sterling, who dropped to 11-3 and 2-2 for the year.

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