Hillsboro broke open a close game with a 24-8 fourth quarter for a 52-34 home-court victory over Kingman Friday.
The win elevated the Trojans to 13-4 for the season and 6-1 in league play; Kingman slipped to 4-12 and 2-5.
For three quarters, Hillsboro played a perimeter game against Kingman’s stingy 2-3 zone defense. It almost opened the door to an upset with the home team protecting a 28-26 lead after three quarters.
Of the 28 shots Hillsboro launched during those first three quarters, only five were inside the arc.
“Obviously, their game plan was to slow everything down,” coach Darrel Knoll said of the Eagles. “And they probably were as disciplined as they’ve been all year on their shots. For us, it was a matter of keep battling and keep our patience.”
The flow of the game changed dramatically in the final period. Darian Ratzlaff started it with one more three-point basket, but down the stretch the sophomore began penetrating the lane and scoring key baskets.
By the time the buzzer sounded, Ratzlaff had 14 points for the quarter, and Hillsboro had inflated its lead to as many 19 points.
“I thought Darian’s fourth quarter was huge,” Knoll said. “He made tough shots, took good shots, and we moved the ball pretty well.”
Carson Herbel added four points, Braden Vogt two free throws and Joe Knoll three free throws during the team’s 24-point outburst.
Ratzlaff finished with a team-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting. As team, Hillsboro shot 47 percent (18-38) from the floor, including 10-for-25 from behind the arc.
Defensively, the Trojans prompted 17 Kingman turnovers, while committing only seven.
Lyons—Hillsboro built a 10-0 lead at the start and never looked back on the way to a 56-26 running-clock win over Lyons Tuesday at Brown Gymnasium.
By the end of the first quarter, the lead was 14-2. the Trojans all but sealed the outcome with a 15-7 advantage in the second quarter for a 29-9 lead at halftime.
Coach Darrel Knoll rotated in his players early on, but the team didn’t skip a beat.
“We just wanted to keep the pressure on them tonight,” Knoll said. “Some of that led to some of our offense being a little less sharp tonight. On the other hand, I thought the pace of the game was really good.
“One thing we talked about before the game is don’t let them be comfortable,” he added. “I thought we did a good job with that.
After three quarters, Hillsboro led 40-16, but it wasn’t until Joe Knoll nailed four consecutive technical-foul free throws with 2:30 left to play that the running clock commenced at 56-26; the scored stayed that way until the end.
Elias Werth lead the Trojans with 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting, including two three-pointers in four attempts. Carson Herbel and Darian Ratzlaff each added nine points.
The Trojans shot just under 40 percent (21-53) from the floor compared to 27 percent (10-37) for the Lions.
“I thought the guys played really hard,” Knoll said. “We kept our heads about us really well. I was really proud of their hustle, and that everyone who came in contributed.”
With the win, the Trojans improved to 12-4 overall and 5-1 in the CKL, while the Lyons fell to 1-14 and 0-6.
Coming—Hillsboro will pursue a challenging path to the finish line of the regular season with a game at Halstead (11-6) on Tuesday, a home-court rematch Friday versus Hesston (15-1), the top-ranked team in 3A, and a road game Feb. 21 against Smoky Valley (10-7).