Trojan boys defeat Marion to start year

Christian Ratzlaff fires his fourth three-pointer over the defense of Marion?s Timothy Knolla during the second quarter of Friday?s game. Ratzlaff scored a season high 29 points, including seven three-point baskets.Led by senior Christian Ratzlaff?s 29 points, Hills?boro employed an impressive long-range attack in the Trojans? 78-49 win over Marion Friday in Brown Gymnasium.

Ratzlaff made 11 of 20 shots from the field, including seven of 12 three-point attempts. As a team, the Trojans drained 12 of 29 shots (38 percent) from behind the arc.

But this was not a one-man show.

Returning from an ankle injury in Game 4, senior point guard Brett Weinbren?ner tossed in 17 points, including two three-pointers.

Micah Allen and Evan Ollen?burger each contributed 10 points as the Trojans, ranked sixth in Class 2A, nailed down the win.

?I thought we ran the floor well,? coach Darrell Knoll said. ?For the most part, we passed the ball pretty well and took pretty good shots overall. Then we started stacking inside and things started opening up for us a little better and we shot the ball in rhythm.?

Marion coach Jeff McMillin said he was disappointed his team, which slipped to 3-3 for the season, didn?t match Hillsboro?s aggressiveness.

?They were aggressive, and we let them take us out of what we wanted to do,? he said. ?That was a big problem we had tonight, just the physical aspect of the game. I was kind of frustrated that they were very physical and we weren?t.?

On the offensive end, Ratzlaff set the tone early, scoring Hillsboro?s first eight points through the first four minutes of the game. But the turning point came later in the first period when his teammates started chipping in.

With Marion close at 10-9, Wein?brenner drained a three with 1:30 left in the period, Ratzlaff followed with a two and his third three of the quarter, then Jordan Faul capped the 10-0 scoring run with a basket in the paint for a 20-9 lead.

Timothy Knolla scored in the final seconds for a 20-11 margin at the first break.

The two teams battled fairly evenly in the second period, but a basket by Wein?brenner in the final second of the half pushed Hills?boro?s lead to 15 points by intermission, 36-21.

After the Trojans scored the last six points of the third quarter, they led 53-31 heading into the final quarter. It proved to be an entertaining one for Trojan fans, who saw their team drain five three-point shots over a 3-minute stretch midway through the period.

Allen and Ratzlaff each hit two and Ollen?burger added the fifth one as Hills?boro capped the game with a 25-point final quarter.

Knoll credited his team?s defense with being key to its success on offense.

?Defensively, all night we put good pressure on the ball,? Knoll said. ?They had a hard time getting good looks, and for the most part we contested well. And we cleaned up the boards decently well.

?There are always things we can improve on, but I was happy with the overall effort.?

Grif Case led Marion with 19 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field, including 6-for-12 from behind the arc. Knolla added 14 points.

?I thought Case had a really good game for them,? Knoll said. ?But I was really pleased with the way we shut everybody else down tonight. Some of their scorers really didn?t get many good looks.?

The Warriors finished with 40 percent shooting (31-55) from the floor while the Trojans shot a season-best 56 percent (31-55).

?We shot the ball well,? Knoll said. ?I thought Christian did a great job tonight of moving the ball and taking good shots. Brett once again had a great game, and Evan?what a hard-nosed effort again.

?Micah and Jordan, Jesse (Brown) and Avery (Franz) all filled their roles, all did quality things and made plays. I thought all of them ran the floor really well tonight.?

To complement his 17 points, Weinbrenner achieved an unusual double-double by contributing 11 assists.

McMillin said he is looking for his team to turn up its aggressiveness as the season progresses.

?I think you can pinpoint in the three games we?ve lost that (the other) teams have been aggressive, and we?ve been tentative or complacent against that. That?ll be our battle cry going forward?trying to improve on the toughness.?

Coming?Marion was scheduled to host Mound?ridge (4-1) Tuesday, then will travel Friday to Bennington (3-2) to take on the Bulldogs.

Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Smoky Valley (0-5) Tuesday, then will travel to Pratt Friday to take on the Greenbacks (1-3).

Janae Rempel contributed to this article.

Hillsboro 78, Marion 49

Jan. 3 at Brown Gymnasium

Marion (3-3) 11 10 10 18?49

Hillsboro (6-0) 20 16 17 25?78

MARION: T. Knolla 14, T. Heidebrecht 3, Z. Robson 6, G. Case 19, J. Jones 4, B. Voth 3. Totals: 18-45 (3-8) 10-18 49.

HILLSBORO: A. Cross 2, M. Allen 10, C. Ratzlaff 29, J. Funk 2, B. Weinbrenner 17, J. Brown 4, Faul 2, Ollenburger 10, A. Franz 2. Totals: 31-55 (12-29) 4-6 78.

Rebounds: Marion 26 (M. Pederson, Knolla, Heidebrecht, Robson 7, Case 7, Jones, Voth, N. Stuchlik, J. Baldwin 3, D. Pippin 2, Team), Hillsboro 27 (Allen 5, Ratzlaff 3, Weinbrenner, Brown 5, G. Knoll, Faul 6, Ollenburger 4, Franz 2). Assists: Marion 9 (Knolla 2, Heidebrecht 4, Robson 2, Case), Hills?boro 21 (Allen, Ratz?laff 2, Weinbrenner 11, Brown 3, D. Dick, Knoll, Ollenburger 2). Steals: Marion 7 (Heidebrecht 4, Robson 2, Jones), Hillsboro 9 (Allen, Wein?brenner, Brown 2, Knoll, Faul, Ollen?burger 3). Turn?overs: Marion 14 (Knolla 3, Heidebrecht 3, J. Hague, Robson, Case 2, Jones 3, Pippin), Hillsboro 7 (Allen 3, Ratzlaff, Weinbrenner, Brown, Faul). Fouls: Marion 6, Hillsboro 16. Fouled out: None.

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