Defense wins championships. Cliche became reality Saturday as the Hillsboro Trojans put on one of their finest defensive performances of the season to shut down Lyndon and win the Class 2A sub-state at Canton, 43-32.
Hillsboro built an 11-5 lead after one quarter by limiting the Tigers to 2-for-11 shooting, pulling down most of the defensive rebounds and forcing four turnovers.
The Trojans squeezed the Tigers even more in the second period, limiting Lyndon to only five shots and one made basket. Lyndon actually narrowed the lead by a point by halftime as Hillsboro managed only 2-for-10 shooting in the quarter.
The Trojans took control of the game in the third quarter, finding success on offense with a 12-3 run through the first 4:21 of the period. Darian Ratzlaff scored two field goals, Preston Loewen nailed a three and Carson Herbel and Wes Shaw each added a two-point baskets. But the Tigers didn’t lay down, putting together a 6-2 surge over the final 2:28 to make the score 30-22 as the quarter ended.
It appeared Lyndon might ignite a comeback when Beau Brecheisen hit a three at the 5:52 mark of the fourth quarter. But just the opposite happened. Loewen responded with a huge three of his own seconds later, and the Trojans went on a 10-4 surge to end the game.
Ratzlaff led the Trojans with 12 points and Joe Knoll came off the bench to score 10 points, including two three pointers and 4-for-4 free throws. Herbel and Loewen added seven each for a balanced effort on offense.
Lyndon played strong defense also. The Trojans ended up hitting 12 of 39 shots (31 percent) from the floor while the Tigers made only nine of 35 shots (26 percent). Hillsboro made 15 of 27 free throws while Lyndon made 10 of 21.
With the win, the Trojans have earned a berth in the Class 2A state tournament in Manhattan next week. Seeded eighth with a 17-6 record, the Trojans will face the No. 1 seed Sacred Heart (22-1) at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in Bramlage Coliseum