The Hillsboro basketball teams completed the regular season on a positive note, taking both games at Kingman Tuesday night. The girls won in a runaway, 55-20, to assure themselves of at least a tie for the Central Kansas League title with an 8-1 record and they will take an 18-2 season record into post-season play next week.
The boys, meanwhile, got off to a great start, lost the lead midway through, then persevered with a gutty 49-45 win over the Eagles. The win puts the Trojans (12-8) in contention for a top-four seed in next week?s sub-state, which would mean a home game in the first round.
GIRLS — In yet another dominant performance, the Trojans more or less settled the outcome of Tuesday?s game in the opening quarter. Fueled by a defense the contributed to 12 Kingman turnovers, the Trojans made nine of 16 shots on the other end of the floor to lead 21-2 at the first break.
The Eagles scored their first basket 24 seconds into the game, then didn?t score again until 1:04 remained in the first half — about a 14-minute drought. By then Hillsboro had 30 points on the board for a 26-point halftime lead.
The Eagles started hitting some shots in the third quarter — four to be exact — while the Trojans put up 16 points, including three-point baskets by Maci Schlehuber at the start, Addie Lackey midway through, and Danae Bina in the closing seconds.
With a 46-12 lead, the running clock kicked in for the final quarter — the 11th time this season — as the Trojans rolled to the easy win. By the time coach Nathan Hiebert sent in his subs with about 6:30 to go, the Trojans were leading, 51-12.
Three Trojans finished in double figures, led by Lackey with 13. Bina tossed in 12 and Loewen 10. Hillsboro?s next game will be Monday against Marion in the first round of sub-state. They will play the entire tournament in the friendly confines of Brown Gymnasium.
BOYS – Hillsboro?s win at Kingman was a three-act play: an idyllic start, a life-threatening crisis midway through, and then a heroic finish.
Act 1: Hillsboro came out of the gate playing some of its best basketball, forcing three straight turnovers, then scoring three easy baskets on three brilliant passes for a quick 6-0 lead.
When Shaq Thiessen finally made his game debut with a basket at the 4:00 mark, the Trojans led 11-0. A couple of three-point baskets by Brett Weinbrenner helped inflate the lead to 19-7 by the first break.
The pace of the game moderated in the second period, with Hillsboro going almost three minutes before scoring a basket. Even so, the Trojans regained their 11 point lead by halftime, 30-19.
Now, Act 2: Four missed shots to start the third quarter, then five consecutive possessions frittered away by turnovers, then another missed shot before Harry Faber finally scored in the paint off a great pass from Josh Wiebe with 2:12 left in the period. By then, King?man had tied the game at 30-30. That?s right, an 11-0 run to start the half. By the end of the quarter the game was deadlocked at 36.
Act 3: Redemption. The bad news was Hillsboro made only two baskets in the final quarter. The good news was they made nine of 14 free throws — and it proved to be enough to carry them to the four-point victory.
Wiebe played a leading role in the game, scoring six points in the first 2:30 minutes of the game, then hitting the last two free throws with 2.6 seconds to play and the Trojans with only a two-point lead. Wiebe finished with 12 points, tying Weinbrenner for the team high.
With the win, Hillsboro improved to 12-8 for the year. Still in doubt at this writing is their fate in sub-state in regard to home game vs. road game. The Trojans entered the evening tied with two other schools — all with eight losses — for the third and fourth seeds. Pairings will be announced Wednesday afternoon, and will be hosted here as soon as we acquire the news.