Hillsboro drops two CKL games

Carson Herbel drives for a score against Hesston defender Jon Weber during the first half. The Trojan junior scored nine points in the game, but Hillsboro fell short against the fourth-ranked team in Class 3A, 63-54.Hillsboro?s young squad gave state-ranked Hesston fits for three quarters, but the No. 4 team in Class 3A pulled away late for a 63-54 victory Friday at Hesston.

Hillsboro?s record, with one game left in the regular season, is 13-6 overall and 6-4 in the Central Kansas League. Hesston improved to 17-2 and 10-0.

Powered by five three-point baskets, the Trojans enjoyed a 23-16 lead as the first quarter ended. Darian Ratzlaff hit two threes, while Elias Werth, Braden Vogt and Joe Knoll each contributed one.

Hesston regrouped in the second quarter. With Hills?boro leading 26-20 at the 5:49 mark, the Swathers slipped into a higher gear and raced to intermission with a 13-2 run that put them in the lead, 33-28.

?We got into a little trouble in the first half when got ourselves sped up and got three or four turnovers in a row, and maybe a quick shot here or there,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?We went from even to five down.?

Hillsboro took charge again in the third quarter. Carson Herbel scored seven points and Austin Cross six to narrow the gap to 47-44 by the time the quarter ended.

Hesston righted itself again as the fourth quarter began, building a 56-45 lead with 2:40 to play. One basket by Cross, two by Ratzlaff, and a three-pointer by Werth kept the Trojans even with Hesston down the stretch, but not enough to make a charge.

Ratzlaff led Hillsboro with 16 points. Werth added 11, Cross 10 and Herbel 9. As a team, the shot nearly 47 percent from field.

?We had a lot better offensive discipline than the last game, so that was good,? Knoll said. ?(Hesston) executed well and they?re solid deep into their bench. But I thought we competed hard and played to the end and gave ourselves a chance.?

Haven?Poor shooting cost the Trojans a much-needed win in a 42-38 home-court loss to Haven Feb. 16.

In a game that was close from start to finish, Hills?boro made its first three shots for a 6-4 lead barely a minute into the contest. The Trojans led 11-10 at the end of the first quarter but Haven led 20-19 at intermission.

When Braden Vogt nailed a three at the 4:28 mark of the third quarter, the Trojans enjoyed their last lead at 25-24. Haven?s Jamal Rogers then scored six unanswered points over the next 1:26 to give his team a 30-25 advantage. A free-throw by Hillsboro?s Joe Knoll made it 30-26 as the quarter ended.

Haven pushed the lead to a game-high 34-28 at the 6:39 mark of the fourth quarter, but Elias Werth hit a dipsey-doodle lay-in followed by a deep three-point basket 37 seconds later to close the gap to 34-33 with 4:28 to go. The Trojans hit five free throws down the stretch, but missed six shots and turned the ball over three times.

When Knoll converted all three free throws after he was foul behind the arc with 13.4 seconds to play, the Trojans were still in the hunt at 40-38.

A quick Hillsboro foul resulted into two Haven charity points, and the Trojans couldn?t convert on offense as time ran out.

Werth finished with 12 points and Vogt 10, but as a team the Trojans managed only 17 baskets in 54 attempts (24 percent), including 6-for-24 shooting from behind the arc.

?Guys who normally make shots didn?t make shots?inside, outside, all the way around,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?We had shots, and wide-open shots, but for some reason the ball wasn?t going down tonight.

?I thought we battled hard, and played good enough defense to win.?

Rogers led Haven (12-5) with 15 points as the Wild?cats shot slightly better at 31 percent for the game (17-54).

Coming?The Trojans (13-6) were scheduled to close the regular season Tuesday on the road against a tough Sterling squad. The Black Bears are 14-5 for the season and 7-3 in the league.

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