The Hillsboro High School boys closed the book on a long and frustrating season Monday with a 66-38 loss to Halstead in the first round of sub-state play.
The final game of the season followed a familiar story line: The Trojans played a competitive first half only to fade in the second one.
Halstead jumped to a quick 7-0 lead before Nathan Vogel drained a 3-pointer from the wing at the 5:00 mark to put Hillsboro on the board.
The Dragons extended the margin to 15-5 before Mason McCarty hit back-to-back buckets and Vogel added a driving layup along the baseline to pull the Trojans to within 17-11 at the first break.
The two teams played to a standoff in the second. Hillsboro pulled as close as 25-21 when Jesse Allen hit four straight free throws. But the Dragons bumped the margin to 29-23 by intermission.
The Trojans stumbled out of the gate in the third quarter, as Halstead capitalized on turnovers to build a 38-26 lead with a 9-3 run. The bulge grew to 46-28 before Vogel added three more points in the final 1:21 to pull his team back to within 46-31 at the final break.
One more Dragon surge, this one going 15-5 through the first 4:31, settled the outcome and both coaches emptied their benches for the final stretch.
Vogel finished his Trojan career in style, scoring 15 points and being the team?s only consistent weapon.
As a team, the Hillsboro boys shot 15-for-40 (38) from the floor while the Dragons made 23 of 38 (61 percent). The loss ended Hillsboro?s season at 2-19, marking the first losing season for coach Darrel Knoll in 21 years at the HHS helm.
Collegiate?In a battle between two teams on the opposite extremes of success, the Hillsboro boys, winless in the league, played the No. 1 ranked Spartans surprisingly close?at least through the first half.
Unfortunately, the Trojans couldn?t keep up the pace in the second half and dropped a 68-34 decision.
HHS actually staked an 8-3 lead through the first 3:24 of the game. The game was still tied, 11-11 in the final seconds of the first quarter until Kevin Richardson drained a 3-pointer to gave the Spartans the lead at the break.
The Spartans slowly built an 8-2 surge through the second period to expand the lead to 22-13 on the way to a 26-17 advantage at intermission.
But the game unraveled for HHS in the third quarter. With the score 32-22, the Spartans launched a 10-0 run on the strength of baskets off turnovers. By the end of the quarter the Collegiate had inflated the margin to 52-30.
The continuous clock kicked in with just under six minutes left in the game.
The Spartans got points from 12 players, with Blake Jablonski leading the pack with 14 and Bryce Cornejo adding 10.
No one broke double digits for HHS, but Jarod Hamm came off the bench to score eight points in the second half to take team-high honors.
The Spartan win improved Collegiate?s record to 19-1 overall and 11-0 in the league. The Trojan boys completed the regular season and their MCAA legacy with an 0-11 mark, and dropped to 2-18 overall.