The Hillsboro boys made a statement at last week’s Moundridge Pre-Season Tournament: The Trojans will be a force to reckon with this season and Class 2A sub-state.
Hillsboro won the tournament with a 3-0 record, but it was rarely easy. They clinched the title with a 61-51 win over Inman.
Hillsboro began the game with a 13-5 sprint that was capped by a 3-point basket by Darian Ratzlaff. Inman cut the margin to 13-9 as the quarter ended.
The second quarter moved from sprint to hypersprint with Hillsboro outscoring the Teutons, 25-14, for a 38-23 halftime lead.
Ratzlaff scored 13 points in the quarter and both Elias Werth and Brodie Rathbone chipped in five points.
Following the second-quarter storm, the Trojans encountered an offensive lull as the second half began, managing only eight points in eight minutes—all eight points by Ratzlaff.
But by the end of the quarter, the Teutons had chipped away only three points off Hillsboro’s lead at 46-35.
The Trojans played a deliberate fourth quarter, running time off the clock while still looking for opportunities to score.
When Inman’s Jordan Friesen drained a 3-pointer, followed by 3-point and 2-point baskets from 6-foot-8 Mason Thiessen, Inman was as close as 50-43 with 5:20 left.
But the Trojans turned up the heat again in the last quarter. A 3-point basket by Werth, a 2-pointer by Wes Shaw and a 2-pointer from Werth bumped the lead back to 57-45 with 2:38 left. Four free-throws by Shaw in the final 1:33 nailed down the victory with a 10-point cushion to boot.
“I thought we finished well and I’m just pleased with the win. This is a tough tournament with some really good teams in it. I feel fortunate we got out the way we did,” coach Darrel Knoll said.
Lyons—When the Trojans raced to a 12-0 run in the first 3:50 of the contest, it appeared Hillsboro was on its way to a major blowout. But the Lions rallied for a 10-4 surge, cutting the deficit to 16-10 by the time the quarter ended.
In the second quarter, Elias Werth and Darian Ratzlaff combined for 11 points as the Trojans bumped their lead to 30-21 by halftime.
The Trojans came out on fire in the third period. By the time the smoked cleared at the end of it, the Trojans were safely ahead, 55-37.
Ratzlaff tossed in eight points as Hillsboro cruised to the 73-52 win.
Werth finished with a team-high 24 points, Ratzlaff contributed 22 and Caleb Potucek cracked double-digits with 12.
Moundridge—In a rematch of the Class 2A sub-state championship game from last spring, the two teams picked up right where they left off: a knock-down, drag-out battle between two good squads.
Once again, it was Hillsboro who escaped with the 52-51 victory on Tuesday.
The Trojans trailed Moundridge 17-15 when the quarter ended. The game was tied at 26 at halftime.
With Hillsboro leading, 37-33, in the final 1:30 of the third quarter, Moundridge got a 3-point basket from Noah Eichelberger and a 2-pointer from junior Dillon Vogts, to take a 38-37 lead as the buzzer sounded.
Hillsboro scored to retake the lead, but it slipped away again when Eichelberger was fouled on an inbounds play under the Wildcat basket, and made both free throws.
Trailing 51-49, coach Darrel Knoll called a timeout with 18.2 seconds left. Coming out of the huddle, Werth hit a 3-pointer that gave Hillsboro its 52-51 lead. Moundridge called a timeout with 4.2 seconds left.
Moundridge got the inbounds pass to Vogts, who headed up court to launch the final shot—but it was deflected by Werth at the last instant as time expired as Hillsboro secured.
Werth led the Trojans with 17 points and Ratzlaff added 16, but it was Vogts and Eichelberger who took game honors with 28 and 22 points, respectively.
Coming—Hillsboro (4-0) will travel to Southeast of Saline (1-1) on Friday for another Trojans vs. Trojans battle.