Trojan boys fall just short vs. Halstead

For the second straight game, the Hillsboro boys battled hard against a quality team but came up short at the end as the Trojans lost 54-47 at Halstead.

Few people gave the 1-7 Trojans much of a chance against the Dragons, ranked fifth in Class 3A at 8-1, especially when Halstead jumped to a 6-2 led in the first 2:30.

But the Trojans got a pair of free-throws from Mason McCarty followed by consecutive baskets from Ethan Frantz and Caleb Hilliard to take an 8-6 lead midway through the quarter. Halstead had reclaimed the lead at 17-16 by the end of the period.

When Hillsboro?s Ben Beber?meyer left the game following a collision near midcourt with 1:30 left in the first half, the Dragons took advantage with a 5-2 surge that gave them a 31-24 lead at intermission.

As it turned out, the game turned in the third quarter. Hillsboro came out firing blanks as Halstead extended its lead to 40-28 by quarter?s end. The Trojans made only two of 16 shots for the period, but the defense held Halstead to 3-for-8 shooting to limit the damage.

On the verge of a knockout, HHS battled back into contention with a 19-10 rally that included two big 3-pointers from Jarod Hamm off the bench. When Jesse Allen completed a traditional three-point play with 1:18 to play, Hillsboro was within 50-47.

But Halstead?s Jared Regehr stepped up as the guy to win the game at the foul line, making four of six charities down the stretch while the Trojans misfired twice from behind the arc. As a team, the Dragons converted 10 of 13 free-throws in the final 4:07.

Allen led the Trojans with 13 points while McCarty added a career-best 12. Hillsboro shot 38 percent from the floor (19-50) while Halstead was just under 50 percent (18-37).

?There were times early in the game when it looked like (Halstead) had all the momentum in the world, but the guys responded out of the timeouts and we were able to tie it at 22,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?We just fought all night. Even at the end we cut the lead back to three. I think people thought we were pretty much done when we were down by nine or 10.?

?Smoky Valley?It didn?t end with a desperately needed victory, but Hillsboro coach Darrel Knoll found solace in his team?s improved play in a 54-50 loss to Smoky Valley Tuesday.

?The one thing we can say about this game is that it?s probably the hardest we?ve competed all year,? Knoll said. ?It?s by far the best, most complete game we?ve played.?

Though the Vikings left Brown Gymnasium with a mediocre 3-5 season record, the win was their third straight since the holiday break, including one against Hesston (6-2) the previous week. The loss dropped Hillsboro to 0-2 and 1-7.

Smoky Valley held a modest lead for most of the night, with a 14-11 advantage after one quarter and 31-24 at halftime.

In the second half, the Trojans stepped up their game. Ben Bebermeyer nailed some timely baskets and four teammates chipped in points as HHS closed the gap to 39-34 as the third quarter ended.

With Caleb Hilliard completing a traditional three-point play and Bebermyer hitting two more baskets, the Trojans pulled into a 43-43 tie with 3:38 left in the game. When Bebermeyer drained a 3-pointer from the wing with 1:27 to go, Hillsboro enjoyed its first lead of the night at 48-47.

Nick Deterding scored for Smoky with 57 seconds left, then Bebermeyer missed a 3-pointer at 0:26. Smoky?s Cody Piper was fouled by Nathan Vogel as he scored on a fast-break layup with 19.5 seconds left; Piper added the bonus free-throw for a four-point margin. Hillsboro?s Jesse Allen followed with a basket in the paint with 12 seconds left.

After an immediate Hillsboro timeout, Hilliard fouled Seth Nelson with seven seconds to go. Nelson made both ends of the one-and-one to ice the game at 54-50.

Both teams shot around 48 percent from the field. Beber?meyer scored 14 points to pace HHS, which enjoyed one of its better shooting nights at 21 for 44. Deterding led SVHS with 13 and Nelson added 10.

Coming?Eighth-seeded Hillsboro was scheduled to open play Tuesday in the Trojan Classic against No. 1 Sunrise Academy. If the Trojans won, they will play in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday. If they lost, they will play at 4:45 p.m. Thursday. The tournament ends Satur?day.

Same-night results, as well as upcoming pairings, will be posted on the Free Press Web site (hillsborofreepress.com) and the Free Line (947-3363).

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