Trojans punch ticket to state

REMINGTON—It wasn’t easy, but Hillsboro held off Inman on Saturday evening 42-35, at Remington High School to advance to the 2A State Championship tournament for a chance to defend their state title.

After taking a quick 4-0 lead, Inman scored seven points unanswered. The two teams battled back and forth, with the Teutons holding a 12-11 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Senior Duncan Duell scored the first basket of the second quarter to give the Trojans back the lead, one they would not relinquish the rest of the evening.

“The key to the game was the second quarter where we outscored them 14-2. We switched to zone at the beginning of the quarter to take them out of their rhythm,” Hillsboro head coach Darrel Knoll said. “It worked, so we decided to stay zone the rest of the game. It was important for us to stay out of foul trouble, so for this game, it was what we needed to do.”

Leading 15-14, Hillsboro’s Matthew Potucek and Brekyn Ratzlaff scored the next 10 points of the game, and the Trojans took a 25-14 lead into halftime.

Hillsboro stretched the lead to 12 midway through the third quarter, but a basket late by Inman’s Tanner Heckel pulled the Teutons within eight points (32-24) heading into the final period.

With just over two minutes remaining, Hillsboro missed two free throws and a chance to extend the lead to 10. Inman’s Eli Brunk made a basket to cut the lead to six. Twice, Inman had the ball while down by six points but a missed shot, and a turnover kept them from having a chance at the end. Hillsboro made their final four free throws.

Ratzlaff led the way for Hillsboro with 12 points, followed by Frank Wichert with 11. Tanner Heckel scored 18 points for Inman.

“Winning substate was one of our main goals, and I am so happy for the team,” Knoll said. “We played with resolve and competed to win. Our defensive intensity has been great all year, and the fact that we share the ball on offense makes us an excellent team.”

Hillsboro will play for the 2A State Championship at Bramlage Coliseum at Kansas State University on March 9-12.

“It is great getting back to the state tournament, and we need to keep focusing on one game at a time as we compete to meet our next goal,” Knoll said.

Grayson Ratzlaff with a short dunk against Sedgwick in substate competition.
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