An off-shooting night cost Hillsboro a winnable league game Friday, as the Trojans lost to Pratt, 61-55, in overtime.
The loss, combined with Tuesday’s win against Council Grove, gives Hillsboro a 12-3 record for the season and a 4-1 mark in league play.
With the exception of Darian Ratzlaff, who led all scorers with 27 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the floor, the Trojans struggled to score consistently.
Without Ratzlaff’s production, Hillsboro shot 29 percent for the game.
“They played really hard,” coach Darrel Knoll said of the Greenbacks. “It was a physical game and we didn’t match up the way we should have.
“On defense, I thought we were a step behind all night. It’s not normal for us to be like that, it just felt like we were a little dead on our feet.”
Wes Shaw got the Trojans off to a good start with six points in the first 4:05 of the game. But when Landen Studer scored for Pratt in the final seconds, the Greenbacks led 13-11 at the first break.
The two teams traded points for most of the second quarter. With Pratt leading 25-21, Ratzlaff hit a 2-point and 3-point basket in succession to put the Trojans on top, 26-25. But Pratt countered with a similar scoring combination to claim a 30-26 lead by intermission.
Ratzlaff nailed a three with 1:37 left in the third quarter to give the Trojans a 38-37 lead through three quarters.
The score remained tight as the fourth quarter progressed. When Ratzlaff and Shaw hit consecutive baskets, Hillsboro led 49-46 with 1:53 to go. But Pratt’s Kaden Evert countered with a three to tie the game at 49.
Elias Werth hit two free throws with 1:12 left in regulation for a 51-49 Trojan lead, but Studer drove the lane for two points to tie the game at 51 with 49.6 seconds left. Both teams took a shot at their basket before time ran out, but neither shot scored.
Pratt took charge in the overtime, and built a 59-53 lead with only 21.4 seconds left. Ratzlaff scored in the lane with 15 seconds to play, but Evert drained two free throws with 13.6 seconds left to secure the six-point win.
Shaw was the only other Trojan to score in double digits, finishing with 10 points. As a team, Hillsboro shot 36 percent from the floor (17-47) while Pratt shot 49 percent (25-51).
Council Grove—It took a most of the first half and part of the second half for the Trojans to find their offensive rhythm, but once they did they rolled to a 64-39 victory Tuesday at Brown Gymnasium.
Hillsboro struggled to separate itself from the Braves in the early going. By the end of the first quarter, the Trojans established a 13-10 edge with Wes Shaw and Elias Werth each contributing four points. By halftime, the lead had increased marginally to 28-19.
The Trojans came out of halftime with Shaw scoring the first three points to bump the lead to 31-19. But those were the last points Hillsboro would score over the next 4:20.
The Braves rallied during that stretch to pull within 31-29 with 3:59 to play.
Brodie Rathbone broke the drought for Hillsboro with a put-back at the 3:46 mark. His basket preceeded a basket by Ratzlaff and a string of three consecutive 3-point baskets, including two by Ratzlaff. By the final break, Hillsboro had lengthened its lead to 44-31.
The Trojans took charge in the final quarter with a 20-8 rush that saw five players contributing points. Hillsboro led 64-37 before the Braves hit a pair of free throws with mere seconds remaining.
“I thought we were a little stagnant at first—maybe because we didn’t play (games) for a week,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “But the guys had a good week of practice last week, and I thought our defense tonight was really tremendous.”
Offensively, Hillsboro was fueled by three players scoring in double digits, led by Shaw with 18, Werth 17 and Ratzlaff 16.
As a team, the Trojans outshot the visitors, 44 percent (27-62) to 34 percent (17-50). The Braves missed all 12 of their 3-point attempts, while the Trojans nailed five of 18.
Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Lyons (2-12) Tuesday, then will travel Friday to Kingman (9-6).