Fast start against Lyons leads HHS boys to their seventh straight win.



Hillsboro used a fast start Friday to put away the Lyons Lions for the third time this season. The 58-45 victory was the Trojans? seventh straight, and improved their record to 12-3 for the season and 3-1 in the league.

Hillsboro came out of the gate like it was 100-yard dash, making its first five shots on the way to an 11-2 lead in the first 2:26. The Trojans finished the first quarter with 8-for-13 shooting and an 18-10 lead.

Running the court effectively, Hillsboro used a 10-2 surge over the final 3:00 of the second quarter to inflate the lead to 36-19 by halftime.

Shaq Thiessen, stepping into the starting lineup for the first time this season, and Brett Weinbrenner each scored 13 points by the break.

As a team, the Trojans shot 60 percent (15-25) from the field, thanks in part to multiple fast-break layups set up with some outstanding assists.

?We got up the floor hard and passed the ball well,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?I thought offensively we really moved well and got great shots out of our movement. I was really pleased.

?We were able to switch up our defense, we had very few mistakes, we covered well. It was a great first half.?

Hillsboro expanded the lead early in the third quarter with an 8-2 surge through the first 3:23. The Trojan offense sputtered after that, but still led 50-26 when the quarter ended.

With substitutes coming in and out of the lineup, Hillsboro?s effectiveness declined in the final quarter on both ends of the court. Lyons narrowed the gap from as many 25 points early in the period to the final 13-point margin by outscoring HHS, 19-8.

Thiessen finished an impressive outing with a career-high 23 points. Senior Brandon Rooker enjoyed a career night, too, by adding nine points to the cause. Weinbrenner?s 13 first-half points were enough to make him the team?s second-leading scorer.

Freshman Grady Kirkhart led Lyons (1-14, 0-4) with 14 points while Matthew Vincent added 12.

Hesston?Hillsboro stumbled near the finish line, but still defeated a solid Hesston team, 47-40, in a sequel to the Trojan Classic championship game 10 days earlier.

The Trojans showed few signs of being intimidated by the challenge of having to beat a good team in back-to-back games.

With Hillsboro maintaining a 3-2 lead through the early minutes after an early three-pointer by Christian Ratzlaff, the sophomore drained a second one at the 2:42 mark to ignite a 10-0 run for a 13-2 lead by the end of the first quarter.

The Trojans looked dominant early in the second quarter, building a 21-7 lead that was fueled in part by five Hesston turnovers. By halftime Hillsboro was solidly ahead, 28-15.

?We played a great first half,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?We really took it at them and had momentum.?

Shaq Thiessen fueled the Trojan surge, coming off the bench for 13 points and some outstanding steals.

?Shaq is so quick,? Knoll said. ?He gets a steal and he?s down the court so fast. He was the difference in the first half.?

Following a 13-13 standoff in the third quarter, the Trojans carried its 13-point lead into the final period. Hillsboro bumped it to 15 points when Josh Wiebe scored with 5:12 to play.

But the Trojans suddenly stepped into the Twilight Zone. Committing uncharacteristic turnovers on three consecutive possessions, Hillsboro saw its lead tighten to 45-36.

Then, when Wiebe was fouled with 1:59 left, he missed the front end of the one-and-one. But he wasn?t alone. The Trojans missed seven free throws in a row over the final 2:00, essentially squandering 10 points.

Fortunately, their defense limited the Swathers to only four points down the stretch to nail down the victory. Evan Ollen?burger broke the Trojans? spell at the line by sinking two welcomed but unnecessary charities with 4.7 seconds to go.

?We didn?t execute as well in the fourth quarter as we would have liked,? Knoll said. ?Still, we knocked off a pretty tough team. Those guys are quick, they?re athletic, they play hard.?

Thiessen led the team with 16 points and four steals while Wiebe added 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Brett Weinbrenner distributed six assists to go with four points.

Eyan Roth led Hesston (8-6, 1-2) with 16 points.

Coming?Hillsboro, ranked 10th in Class 3A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, was scheduled to host Sterling (14-1, 3-1) Tuesday. The Black Bears are ranked second in Class 2A. Smoky Valley (6-9, 3-1) comes to Brown Gymna?sium Friday.

For same-night coverage of both games, go to hillsborofree?

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