Trojan boys fall short vs. Hesston

Christian Ratzlaff is fouled by Hesston?s Wyatt McKin?ney on a drive to the basket during the climactic fourth quarter. Ratzlaff made both free throws on his way to a game-high 17 points.Hillsboro?s upset bid of the undefeated and top-ranked Hesston boys lasted literally until the final second of Friday?s showdown in Brown Gymnasium.

But Hesston?s Grant Raleigh scored an improbable layup at the buzzer to give the Swathers a 45-43 victory.

The win kept Hesston, the top-rated team in Class 3A, unblemished at 16-0 while Hillsboro, ranked fifth in 2A, slipped to 14-3.

?We played well enough to win tonight, we just didn?t get a couple of breaks down the stretch,? coach Darrel Knoll said.

This game was a nail-biter from start to finish. The Trojans were in position to score the winning shot after calling a timeout with 15.5 seconds left in a 43-43 tie.

But once they inbounded the ball, the Trojans couldn?t find an opening. With time winding down, Brett Wein?brenner, the Trojans? standout point guard, launched an off-balance three from the corner with about six seconds left.

But the ball ricocheted off the side of the backboard and into the hands of Hess?ton?s Ryan Schadler. He quickly passed upcourt to an unguarded Raleigh who dribbled in for the winner.

How close was this game? Hesston led 12-11 after one quarter, but Hillsboro tied the game by halftime, 22-22.

With both teams struggling to score early in the third quarter, Weinbrenner took charge, hitting four consecutive field goals from the 4:15 mark to the 1:42 mark to give Hillsboro a 30-27 lead. The Trojans maintained that three-point lead as the quarter ended, 32-29.

Hillsboro?s only scoring in the first 5:10 of the final quarter came from the free-throw line as Evan Ollen?burger and Christian Ratzlaff combined for six straight makes. When Ratz?laff made his final two with 2:50 to go, he tied the game at 38.

Hesston went up 41-38 when Wyatt McKinney competed a three-point play after he was fouled by Ollenbur?ger on a layup. But the Hills?boro senior came right back with two more free throws to pull the Trojans to within 41-40 with 2:17 left.

When Ratzlaff followed with a three-pointer from the wing with 1:24 to go, the home crowd roared with a 43-41 Trojan lead.

Hesston?s Tyler McKin?ney then made both ends of a one-and-one to tie the game with 1:07 left. Hillsboro ran the clock down to 15.5 seconds before Knoll called a timeout to set up a final shot.

?On the last shot, it?s hard to know the time,? Knoll said of Weinbrenner?s attempt. ?Maybe we took it a little early, but you?re competing for the win.

?We?ll work on getting back (to defend) in the future?that?s a lesson we can learn from this particular night.?

Ratzlaff led the Trojans with 17 points and Wein?brenner finished with 15. Hesston had three double-digit scorers: McKinney and McCartney with 13 each and Schadler with 11.

?I thought Hesston brought their A-game tonight,? Knoll said. ?We had to work for everything we got.?

Smoky Valley?Hillsboro posted an easy 67-36 win last Tuesday against a winless Viking team at Brown Gym?na??sium.

Hillsboro led only 11-10 with two minutes left in the opening period, but in those final minutes the Trojans inflated the lead to 21-12 on a three-point play by Avery Franz, a three-point basket by Jordan Faul and baskets in the paint by Micah Allen and Christian Ratzlaff.

?That was the thing we talked about the most?to come out ready to go and don?t take anything for granted,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?Every game we?ve got to play to the best of our ability?and have a lot fun doing it.?

A 10-2 run through the first 3:00 of the second period all but sealed the win. By halftime, the Tro?jans led 41-21; at the end of three quarters it was 56-30.

The Trojans hit the running-clock 30-point spread in the fourth quarter when Grant Knoll came off the bench to hit a three-pointer and a two-pointer in just over a minute to make the score 65-33.

Ratzlaff finished with 18 points for Hillsboro while Allen and Brett Weinbren?ner each tossed in 10. Nine Trojans scored in the contest, with six scoring seven or more points. As a team, the Trojans shot 52 percent from the floor (26-50).

?I thought tonight we passed the ball so well,? Knoll said. ?We found guys underneath, we took good shots from the outside. I thought we did a really good job against the zone.?

Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play at Halstead (9-8) Tuesday, then will host Haven (7-9) Friday. Hillsboro will wrap up the regular season Feb. 25 when Kingman (12-4) comes to Brown Gymnasium.

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