Hillsboro basketball teams sweep Larned- Boys

Hillsboro sophomore Caleb Potucek drives the lane for two of his 11 points in the Trojans’ 71-47 win against the Indians
Hillsboro sophomore Caleb Potucek drives the lane for two of his 11 points in the Trojans’ 71-47 win against the Indians
It was a long trip to get there, but the Hillsboro boys made it worthwhile with a 71-49 win at Larned Jan. 5.

The win gives the Trojans a 2-0 mark in the Central Kansas League and a 7-1 record for the season.

Hillsboro established an 11-3 lead before Larned’s Chance Sanger nailed a three-point basket midway through the first quarter. But a basket by Elias Werth, two free-throws by Darian Ratzlaff and a basket by Caleb Potucek with 1:10 left gave Hillsboro a somewhat tenuous 17-11 lead as the first quarter ended.

When the Indians attacked with a 9-3 surge to start the second quarter, the Trojans found themselves trailing, 20-19, at the 6:24 mark. A basket by Hills­boro’s Wes Shaw moments later ignited an 18-9 surge that carried the Trojans to a 37-29 advantage by halftime.

Hillsboro’s 7-0 start in the third quarter seemed to break the will of the home team. Elias Werth scored the first five points and Shaw added two on a put-back of a Werth miss at the 5:10 mark.

The Trojans didn’t score again until the final 3:23 of the quarter, but Larned managed only six points for the entire period, enabling Hillsboro to build a 51-35 lead with one quarter left.

The Trojans dominated that quarter, finishing with a 14-6 surge for their seventh victory of the season.

Werth scored 18 points to lead Hillsboro’s scoring. Shaw added 14, Ratzlaff 13 and Potucek 11. Elliot Ollen­burger made his first appearance of the season coming off a football injury. The senior contributed four points in his season debut.

“I thought we played aggressively all night,” coach Darrel Knoll said of team. “The guys maintained their composure, they played hard, they boarded well, they passed the ball to each other.

“We got in early foul trouble, but the guys stepped in and played good roles,” he added. “I thought in the second half we played outstanding defense, and offensively we moved the ball much better.

“Larned’s a good team and they play hard,” Knoll said. “They’re well coached and they’re aggressive and scrappy. I’m really pleased to get this kind of win on this floor. It was a great team effort and we’ve got to keep playing like that.”

Nickerson—With a 15-0 explosion midway through the final quarter, the Trojans buried the Panthers, 66-44, in their Central Kansas League opener at Nicker­son Jan. 2.

With the win, the Hills­boro boys, ranked 10th in Class 2A, improved to 6-1 for the season.

Wes Shaw fueled the Trojans early, scoring six points in the first quarter. The Trojans managed a 14-11 at the first break when Caleb Rempel hit a three-pointer with 40 seconds to go.

By halftime, Hillsboro nudged its lead 27-20. Shaw added two more baskets that were bracketed by a three-point basket by Caleb Potucek to start the quarter and a traditional three-point play near the end of it.

In the second half, the Trojans began to click offensively, starting with an 8-2 spurt in the first 1:22 that led to a 35-22 lead barely 2 minutes in. Darian Ratzlaff took charge from there, scoring nine points in the quarter for a 47-34 Hillsboro lead.

Nickerson’s 7-2 surge as the fourth quarter began cut Hillsboro’s lead to eight points. Panther fans were hoping to fan the rally, but instead the Trojans delivered a 15-0 knock-out blow over a 2:18 stretch.

Shaw contributed two points, Ratzlaff four, Elias Werth seven and Potucek two for a 64-41 lead with 3:02 to play.

Both coaches substituted freely in the final minutes.

“I thought the guys played really hard tonight,” coach Darrel Knoll said. “We took away the lanes, I thought we boarded well against some real physical play, and then at times we really executed on offense.”

As for the fourth-quarter run, Knoll said, “Part of that was defense, and running the court really hard. Once we got the ball moving side to side, we were able to find driving lanes and start finishing.”

Ratzlaff led the Trojans with 17 points, Shaw added 16, Werth 13 and Potucek 11. As a team, the Trojans outshot the Panthers, 26-for-58 (45 percent) to 17-for-46 (37 percent).

“We had great play from a lot of guys,” Knoll said. “Wes was really big for us inside and Elias had another great game tonight. Potucek did a nice job on their point guard. Everybody made great contributions.”

Coming—After playing seven of their first eight games on the road, the Trojans will play their next five games at home, starting with league games versus Hoisington Jan. 9. and Haven Jan. 12., followed by the Trojan Classic, Jan. 16-20.

For the results of each game, go to hillsborofree­press.com.