HHS wins Moundridge tourney

Elias Werth drives into the lane and scores during the fourth quarter against Moundridge Friday. Hillsboro won the game, 47-44, to claim first place in the tournament.<p>Hillsboro battled back from a 14-point deficit early in the second quarter to claim a dramatic 47-44 victory over Moundridge in the final round of the Wildcats’ pre-season tournament on Friday.

The Trojans ran into a buzz saw at the start as Mound­ridge ripped off a 9-0 run in the first 3:15. The home team’s lead grew to 22-10 by the end of the first quarter and reached a game-high 14 points 40 seconds into the second quarter when Noah Eichelberger scored in the paint.

“I told the guys to just keep playing,” coach Darrel Knoll said about the Wildcats’ hot start. “We got caught flat-footed. They were so sharp, making everything they shot. We just didn’t have it at that point.”

Hillsboro was still trailing by 14 at 29-15 when senior Braden Vogt hit the third of his four first-half three-point baskets at the 2:55 mark. He added a two-point basket and his fourth three-pointer in the final seconds of the half to pull the Tro­jans to within 30-24 by halftime.

The Trojans missed their first four shots of the second half before the tide began to turn. Carson Herbel hit a free throw at the 5:57 mark to spark a 10-2 Hillsboro run—fueled by back-to-back threes from Joe Knoll—to take their first lead of the night at 33-32 with 2:57 left in the third quarter.

Moundridge countered with a three-pointer from Lantonio Unruh and a traditional three-point play by Dylan Sugars to lead, 40-34. But Sugars was whistled for a technical foul after the play. Knoll drained both technical free-throws to make the score 40-36 as the third period ended.

Hillsboro saved its best punch for last. Senior Pres­ton Loewen drained a three at the 6:35 mark, and a free throw by Darian Ratzlaff tied the game at 40 with 5:35 to play. Elias Werth followed with a pair of charities that gave Hillsboro the lead.

When Loewen nailed another three and Werth scored on a drive into the lane, Hillsboro led, 47-42. The home team managed one more basket with 22 seconds to play, but it was the Tro­jans who celebrated a signature victory to improve to 4-0 for the season.

“I was really happy that the guys were able to keep playing,” Coach Knoll said. “Finally, we got into a little bit of transition and pushed the ball a little harder. Defen­sively we tightened up a lot beginning in the second quarter, and the rest of the game we were all right.

“Moundridge is a really good team,” he added. “To come back after getting down by 14, and win that game on their floor is quite an amazing thing.”

Vogt led the Trojans with 14 points, all scored in the first half; Loewen tossed in 11.

HHS 49, Inman 39

Defense dominated Hillsboro’s second-round game Thursday against Inman as both teams shot under 30 percent from the floor.

The Trojans scored five unanswered points in the first 1:03 of the game, then managed only four free throws over the next seven minutes before Joe Knoll drained a three-pointer from the top of the key for a 12-8 lead as the first quarter ended.

One three-point basket by Elliot Ollenburger and two more by Knoll helped Hills­boro bump the lead to 26-17 by halftime.

Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter, but Inman outscored the Trojans 9-6 to pull to within 32-26 as the quarter ended.

Early in the fourth quarter, Hillsboro appeared on the verge of pulling away when Carson Herbel scored in the paint and Knoll followed with his fourth three-pointer of the game at the 6:54 mark for a 37-26 bulge.

But Inman didn’t back down. Instead, the Teutons launched a 9-2 burst over the next five minutes to pull within 39-35 with 1:52 to play.

Inman scored one more basket at the 1:17 mark, but the Trojans shut them down the rest of the way to nail down the win.

Hillsboro could have nailed the coffin shut sooner, but missed three of six free throws down the stretch, including the front end of two one-and-one opportunities.

Knoll drained two free throws with 27 seconds left on the clock and Preston Loewen scored in the lane with 10 seconds left to remove all doubt.

“Down the stretch, shots we would normally make weren’t going in and we got tentative, which is not good,” Coach Darrel Knoll said. “But I told the guys I’d rather win an ugly game like this than to lose one like this.

“I’m really happy with the guys,” he added. “We made the plays we needed to at the end. We really defended them well. Their guys did not get that many open looks.”

Joe Knoll came off the bench to lead Hillsboro with 14 points. Loewen added 11 as the Trojans improved to 3-0 for the season.

HHS 42, Lyons 35

The Trojans put in a dominant performance Tuesday, ending its first-round game with a running clock the entire fourth quarter.

Darian Ratzlaff nailed a three-point shot 34 seconds into the contest to give Hills­boro a lead it would never relinquish.

Playing with intensity on both ends of the court, the Trojans inflated its 14-8 lead after one quarter to a 41-16 bulge by halftime. Seven Trojans contributed points during the decisive second quarter.

“When we picked up the intensity on defense, things picked up really well,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “Offen­sively, we started moving the ball and attacking the basket a little more.”

If there was any concern about a second-half letdown, Hillsboro quickly vanquished it with a 15-2 run to start the third quarter. By the time the quarter ended, the Trojans led 58-20.

Coach Knoll rotated in his bench for much of the fourth quarter to complete the 37-point victory.

Ten Trojans contributed points in the game. Joe Knoll led the way with 13, and Carson Herbel and Wesley Shaw each scored 10 to complete the double-digit scoring.

“We got some great performances from out of really everybody,” Coach Knoll said. “All the way around, guys were getting after it. They all played hard. I was really pleased with their overall effort again. The intensity level kept up the entire game.”

Coming—The Trojans will host Southeast of Saline on Thursday night, then close out the pre-holiday schedule with a game at Marion.

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