The 62-40 win improved their record to 16-3.
Both teams struggled for points in the first half. Hills?boro was slowed by Haven?s zone, while the Wildcats faltered against the Trojans? tough man-to-man. The home team led 11-6 after one quarter and only 19-15 at halftime.
That?s when the long-range assault began. Micah Allen set the tone, hitting a deep three just 38 seconds into the third quarter.
Brett Weinbrenner, who had been in a bit of slump in recent games, followed with the first of three three-pointers at the 6:47 mark. Also joining the three-point parade were Christian Ratzlaff with two?including a semi-desperate shot at the buzzer that hit nothing but net?and Jordan Faul, who nailed one from the corner.
For the quarter, the Trojans nailed seven of eight shots from behind the arc and led the Wildcats 43-28.
The Trojans didn?t back down much in the final period, making six of 11 shots, including two more threes from Weinbrenner. The senior point guard finished with a game-high 21 points, including 5-for-10 three-point shooting.
?It was kind of a different game for him tonight,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?I thought especially in the second half he stepped into the gaps really well. I thought we did a better job passing in the second half, which helped our shooting.?
Ratzlaff added 16 points, hitting four of seven threes. Allen chipped in nine points.
As a team, the Trojans made 49 percent (21-43) from the floor, but actually shot better beyond the arc (11 of 22, 50 percent), than in front of it (10-21, 43 percent).
Knoll was pleased with his team?s second-half surge, but said his team?s game-long effort on the defensive end was key for the victory.
?Before the game, that?s one of the things we really stressed,? he said. ?We wanted to make it difficult for them to score inside and take care of the boards. We did that pretty well most of the night.?
Halstead?On a night when the offense struggled to score from the field, Hills?boro made 13 of 19 free throws in the final quarter to hold the home team at bay, 49-37, Tuesday at Halstead.
?Offensively, we know we could have been better, and I think the guys were a little disappointed at the end of the game that we weren?t quite as online as we could have been or usually are,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?But the point is to win, and we did what we needed to do to win the ball game.?
What was needed on this night was good defense, and the Trojans showed plenty of that.
?We forced tough shots all night, for the most part we took care of rebounds, we got loose balls,? Knoll said. ?We definitely played a great defensive game tonight.?
Halstead scored the game?s first basket, but when Christian Ratzlaff nailed a three-pointer 32 seconds later, Hillsboro never trailed again. The Trojans led 14-7 after one quarter and 27-19 at halftime. Both teams shot close to 50 percent from the field.
But both teams cooled in the second half. The Trojans made only two of 12 shots in the third quarter, but also limited the Dragons to 2-for-8 shooting.
Leading 34-26, the Trojans made their only field goal of the fourth quarter in the first nine seconds. The home stretch was all about free-throw shooting. From the 5:10 mark, Hillsboro attempted only one field goal, but shot 16 free throws.
Ratzlaff finished with 25 points to lead all scorers; teammate Micah Allen contributed a big game with 13.
Defensively, the Trojans tag-teamed Halstead?s top scorer, Anthony Santiago, holding him to a mere six points?all in the first half.
?After a tough loss last Friday (against Hesston), I was pleased that we came out and played a solid, hard game tonight against a good team,? Knoll said. ?This is an extremely tough place to win. I was pleased with the effort.?
Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to complete the regular season Tuesday with a home game against Kingman (13-5). Sub-state seedings will be announced Wednes?day. Check hillsboro?freepress.com for the matchups.
Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday?s game, Hillsboro will host its first-round game. The rest of the tournament will be played at Berean Academy.
In addition to the host school and the Trojans, the field includes Little River, Moundridge, Inman, Canton-Galva, Peabody-Burns, Sterling and Remington.