Trojan boys place first at Moundridge

Christian Ratzlaff drives for his first basket of the game against Moundridge Friday. Ratzlaff and fellow senior Brett Weinbrenner combined for 26 and 27 points, respectively, in the Trojans? 62-55 victory.Fueled by the scoring of two seniors, the Hillsboro boys claimed first place at the Moundridge Pre-season Classic with a 62-55 win over the host team.

Brett Weinbrenner scored 27 points and Christian Ratzlaff added 26 against Mound?ridge, ranked sixth in Class 2A. The victory gave the Trojans, ranked 10th in 2A, a 3-0 start to the season.

Wein?brenner got the Trojans going by hitting his first three shots of the game?two of them from behind the arc?for a quick 8-3 lead. Then Christian Ratzlaff stepped up for a two-pointer and a three in succession to make it 13-8.

By the end of the quarter, Hillsboro led 19-15 without any other teammates contributing points.

Moundridge proved it would not go quietly into the night. With Hunter Enyart scoring five points in a span of 1:45 midway through the period, Mound?ridge claimed a 22-21 lead.

But Ratzlaff countered with a pair of free throws and mid-range jumper, and Avery Franz added a basket in the paint to push the lead back to five at 29-24.

Leading 29-26 at halftime, Hillsboro pushed the lead to 41-31 with Ratzlaff providing eight points on two threes and a 14-footer. Moundridge narrowed the lead to 46-39 by the end of the quarter.

With Hillsboro missing six of its first seven shots to start the fourth quarter, the Wildcats crept to within one point at 49-48 and then again at 51-50. Hillsboro?s Micah Allen then drained a huge three-point shot at the 3:21 mark.

But it wasn?t over just yet. A foul and technical foul called on Hillsboro helped Moundridge get back to within two points, but Wein?brenner stepped up again with a three from the corner with 2:24 to play.

From that point, the Trojans began running time, but the Wildcats had to foul three times before putting the Trojans at the free-throw line.

Once there, Wein?brenner hit three of four and Ratzlaff added two more with 12.7 seconds left for a 62-53 lead. Enyart scored the last two of his 26 points in the final seconds.

?We knew Moundridge was going to make a run,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?I thought the timeout we took some of the momentum away. When we came out, I thought we were more disciplined defensively and were able to get a couple of stops.?

Offensively, the Trojans again found success from behind the arc, making eight of 20 (40 percent) for the game and 42 percent (32-76) for the tournament.

?That?s one thing I like about this team, we have a lot of guys who have the ability to put the ball in the basket,? Knoll said. ?It was a great team effort. They all played well and did their part against a really good team.?

HHS 61, Inman 52

Second round, Thursday

On the heels of their hot start against Lyons on Tuesday, the Trojans started slowly against Inman. Five minutes into the game, Hillsboro finally got on the board with a three-pointer by Micah Allen?which actually tied the low-scoring game.

With the lid off the basket, Christian Ratzlaff followed Allen?s shot 24 seconds later with two threes over a span of 30 seconds. When Ratzlaff added a third three with 1 minute to go, Hillsboro took a 12-7 lead into the first break.

The two teams more or less traded points through the second quarter. But consecutive threes by Jordan Faul put the Trojans ahead 23-13 before settling for a 23-16 halftime lead.

The teams played to a virtual standoff in the third quarter. With Hillsboro leading 39-33 as the final period began, the scrappy Teutons climbed to within 46-44 with 3:37 to play.

But momentum turned the Trojans? way about a minute later when Brett Weinbren?ner pirouetted through the lane to score the layup and pick up the bonus foul. The senior sank the free throw to bump the lead back to five points.

After Inman hit a free throw, Faul continued his timely shooting, draining another three with 2:17 left. Inman countered with a two, but Allen stepped up for a big three-pointer with 1:46 left.

Despite making only four of eight free throws down the stretch, the Trojans finished with a nine-point win.

Ratzlaff was the game-high scorer with 18 points, but Faul finished right behind him with 17. Wein?brenner?s 16 points rounded out the double-digit scoring.

?The thing I was most pleased with?even though I thought we were a little frustrated offensively at times?we continued to play basketball,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?We didn?t allow that to affect our game (by giving up) big runs. We kept playing the game, and that?s a good thing to see this early in the season.?

HHS 59, Lyons 44

First round, Tuesday

A 19-7 first quarter set the tone for Hillsboro?s opening victory. Christian Ratzlaff, who missed all of last season with a knee disability, fired in a three-pointer just 14 seconds into the contest.

The senior would hit three more shots from behind the arc before the end of the first half. As a team, the Trojans hit 12 during the game.

Hillsboro never allowed Lyons to make a serious run after that first period, building the lead to 35-16 by halftime. Brett Weinbrenner had 14 points by intermission, including two three-pointers.

In the third quarter, Micah Allen inherited the hot hand, nailing back-to-back threes only 18 seconds apart and 1:02 into the quarter. The junior popped a third one 4 minutes later to give him nine points for the quarter and 14 for the game.

When Weinbrenner hit a three at the buzzer to end the quarter, Hills?boro enjoyed its biggest lead at 52-25.

On the defensive end, the Trojans limited the Lions? star, Ryan McClure, to only nine points through three quarters. The senior hit two three-pointers in the final 18 seconds of the game to finish with 16 points.

Weinbrenner led all scorers with 24 points.

?The guys played really well together,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?I thought we moved the ball well and that led to really good shooting, especially when we were attacking the paint, inside out. I thought that?s when we were at our best.

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