HHS boys beat Sterling with ‘best game so far”


Daniel Jost drives successfully past Sterling?s Matt Foster for a layup in the early going of Hillsboro?s 58-43 win over Sterling. Jost finished with 16 points as the Trojans improved to 3-2. . Don Ratzlaff/Free Press

A strong start put Hillsboro on the path to a solid 58-43 victory at Sterling on Friday night.

Nathan Vogel ignited a 10-0 opening run when he drained a 3-point shot from the wing less than a minute into the contest. David Loewen added a bucket in the paint, Clay Shewey nailed a 3-pointer from the corner and Daniel Jost drove the lane for a bucket to give Hillsboro a double-digit lead with 5:22 left in the period.

Meanwhile, Sterling, feeling the Trojan pressure, turned the ball over three times and missed its only two shots.

?We?ve been working really hard on just picking up the pace in practice, picking up defensive intensity and executing on offense,? coach Darrel Knoll said.

?I thought the first half of the first quarter was really good. We got the ball up court a lot better, and we were passing the ball to the open man on time.?

The Black Bears ended Hillsboro?s run when Nik Darling scored at the 4:14 mark. But it would be Sterling?s only field goal in nine shots as HHS led 13-3 after one quarter.

Even though both teams struggled to hit their shots in the second period, the Trojans built a 24-8 advantage before Cody Riggs drained a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in the half for a 24-11 margin at intermission.

Less than 30 seconds into the third period, Jost bagged a 3-pointer from the top of the key that fueled a 13-3 Hillsboro surge, which Jost also capped with a steal and a basket at the 5:06 mark.

In between, Shewey hit a 2-pointer and 3-pointer and Loewen contributed an old-fashioned three-point play to a 37-14 lead.

Sterling regained its composure and narrowed the lead to 47-29 as the third quarter ended.

The Trojans pushed the lead past 20 points one more time when Loewen began the final period with another traditional three-point play for a 50-29 score.

But Sterling again stepped up, closing the margin to 15 by the final buzzer.

Loewen finished with 18 points to pace HHS with Jost adding 16 and Shewey 12.

As a team, the Trojans made 21 of 45 shots (47 percent) from the field and 10 of 17 from the free-throw line. Sterling made 15 of 38 shots (39 percent) from the floor and 11 of 17 from the stripe.

?I?m really pleased with the performance tonight,? Knoll said. ?I thought it was a tremendous effort by everybody. There were a few times when we didn?t execute offense, but we?re still finding ourselves, and sometimes when you play that hard (on defense) you get a little winded and make a few mistakes.?

Hillsboro enters the break with a 3-2 record while Sterling fell to 2-3.

?It was a great way to end the pre-holiday schedule,? Knoll said. ?I thought this was our best game so far.?

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