Trojan boys deliver 400th career win for Knoll

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Hillsboro?s 49-41 win over Kingman Friday may have had limited importance to the casual observer, but to the Trojan boys and their fans, it was huge.

Let us count the ways.

? A first: It was Kingman?s inaugural visit to Brown Gym?na?sium as a member of the Central Kansas League.

? A last: It was a gratifying regular-season send-off for three Trojans?Caleb Hilliard, Ben Bebermeyer and Jarod Hamm?on Senior Night.

? An achievement: It assured the Trojans of at least a .500 season, and improved their chances for getting a home-court game for next week?s sub-state tournament opener.

? A milestone: Coach Darrel Knoll earned his 400th career win in his 23rd season at the HHS helm.

In the end, it took clutch free-throw shooting to seal the deal. Jesse Allen made four straight and Christian Ratzlaff cashed in two in the last 1:04 to ward off a late Eagle rally that narrowed a 13-point Hillsboro lead to four points with 38 seconds left.

The game was a battle from the start. The Eagles led 9-7 at the first break, then Hillsboro took the lead at 12-11 when Allen cashed in a traditional three-point play with 4:53 left in the half.

The two teams traded points the rest of the way, with Hills?boro grabbing a 19-18 lead when Josh Wiebe scored in the paint with four seconds left.

After Kingman started the third quarter with a three-pointer, a basket by Ben Beber?meyer ignited an 8-3 Hillsboro surge that gave HHS a 27-24 edge at the 2:52 mark. Jarod Hamm scored five of Hillsboro?s next seven points to help the Trojans to a 34-28 lead after three quarters.

Hillsboro kept the surge going into the fourth period. Brett Wein?brenner drained a three and Tyrell Thiessen and Wein?brenner followed with two-pointers to extend the lead to 41-28 with 6:39 to play.

Kingman then launched its final rally midway through the period, but Hillsboro?s late free throws preserved the victory.

?We?re playing with a lot of resolve,? Knoll said. ?We?re not hoping to win, we?re expecting to win. Early in the year I?m not sure we believed in ourselves as much as we do right now. That?s been a great step for this team.?

Allen led Hillsboro with 15 points and Weinbrenner added 12. Mike Meng scored 15 to pace Kingman.

The win boosted HHS to 11-8 for the season and 6-2 in the Central Kansas League while Kingman fell to 2-17 and 0-8.

Immediately following the game, Knoll received a plaque from activities director Robert Rempel commemorating 400 victories in 541 games.

?That was the last thing on my mind,? Knoll said of the milestone. ?I was hoping to get it tonight mostly because this win could propel us to get a couple more (wins) yet this season.

?If we can get the next one, maybe we can make a run (at sub-state). We?ve got the type of team that can really make a run.?

Knoll expressed appreciation for the support of school administrators, family and fans through his 23 years. But he added that his players deserved a lot of the credit.

?I?ve had a lot of really good players who have listened to me, practiced hard, put in the extra time?all the way back to the beginning,? he said. ?It?s been a good situation for the 23 years.?

Halstead?It was a night of redemption for the Trojans as they avenged an embarrassing loss at Hal?stead in early January with a huge 72-63 victory Tues?day at Brown Gymna?sium.

Adding to the game?s significance: The two teams came into the evening with identical records?9-8 overall and 4-2 in the Central Kansas League.

?I think we wanted to redeem ourselves,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?Halstead played well that night, but we knew we really didn?t do ourselves justice. That was the low point of the season. It really made us look at ourselves and decide what we needed to do.?

Perhaps with the memory of that 50-18 loss still lingering, the Trojan boys burst out of the gate this time, scoring more points in the opening quarter than they did the entire previous game en route to a 25-11 lead at the first break.

The Trojans dominated the visitors with 10-for-14 shooting and defensive pressure that contributed to seven Halstead turnovers.

Seven Trojans contributed points in the first period, led by a key contribution from Luke Moore, who came off the bench to score seven in a span of 70 seconds near the end.

Getting off to a good start was Knoll?s point of emphasis prior to the game.

?We?ve really struggled with the first and third quarters this year,? he said. ?That really was probably the difference in the game. We attacked the basket.?

But the Dragons refused to roll over. Taking advantage of Trojan fouls, they pulled to within 27-22 midway through the second period. In the final minute, a pair of free throws by Brett Weinbrenner and a basket by Moore boosted Hillsboro to a 39-28 lead at intermission.

The Trojans led 58-45 after three quarters despite 11 points from Halstead?s Simon McKee during the period. The senior kept it going in the fourth quarter, and when he scored the second of two baskets in a 19-second span, the Trojan lead had dwindled to 63-59 with 2:28 to play.

Hillsboro came out of a timeout determined to run some clock and force Halstead into more fouls. After a shaky 3-for-9 performance at the line in the first half, the Trojans stepped up big time down the stretch.

?I was really proud, when (Halstead) cut it to three, that made we some tremendously tough plays,? Knoll said. ?Offen?sively we were able to get to the basket, we ran enough time and we made our free throws down the stretch. That was really big.?

Three Trojans scored in double figures, led by Jesse Allen?s 14 points. Tyrell Thiessen contributed a huge game off the bench, scoring 12 points and enforcing the paint on defense, while Weinbrenner contributed 11 points.

?I thought Jesse played tremendously well tonight?that was great to see,? Knoll said. ?Everyone was solid tonight.?

McKee?s 24 points?20 in the second half?led all scorers. He was 8-for-20 from the field and 8-for-12 from the line.

Hillsboro made 19 of 32 free throws while Halstead cashed in 23 of 31 as the officials called 51 fouls during the contest?26 against the visitors, 25 against the home team.

?I think (the win) was huge from a confidence level,? Knoll said. ?We night see those guys again (at sub-state), so it was huge. We got some good minutes from a lot of guys.?

Coming?Following Tues-day?s game at Haven (3-4, 12-6), the Trojans will prepare for next week?s sub-state tournament in Hal?stead.

Joining Hillsboro (11-8) and Halstead (10-9) in the field are (season records through Friday) Hutchinson Trinity (15-4), Lyons (5-13), Marion (6-11), Remington (11-7), Sedgwick (5-12) and Sterling (13-5).

For a same0night report of Tuesday?s game with Haven, go to hillsboro?freepress.com.

?

DARREL KNOLL

HHS career record

1989: 17-4 (81.0)

1990: 13-8 (61.9)

1991: 23-2 (92.0) **

1992: 22-4 (84.6) *

1993: 11-11 (50.0)

1994: 17-5 (77.3)

1995: 21-5 (80.8) **

1996: 24-2 (92.3) *

1997: 22-4 (84.6) *

1998: 24-2 (92.3) **

1999: 25-1 (96.2) *

2000: 15-8 (65.2)

2001: 13-9 (59.1)

2002: 20-4 (83.3) *

2003: 23-3 (88.5) *

2004: 22-4 (84.6) *

2005: 21-2 (91.3)

2006: 16-7 (69.6)

2007: 11-11 (50.0)

2008: 13-10 (56.5)

2009: 14-8 (63.6)

2010: 2-19 (09.5)

2011: 11-8

?

400-141 (73.9%)

? 23rd season

? 11 20-win seasons

? 10 trips to state*

? 3 state titles**

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