Trojan boys start CKL play at 2-0

It took a 14-0 burst to start the fourth quarter before the Hillsboro boys finally pacified a scrappy Larned team Friday with a 63-47 victory at Brown Gymna­sium.

Combined with a knock-out spurt against Nickerson on Tuesday, the Trojans improved to 7-1 for the season and 2-0 in league play.

Larned looked physically underwhelming as they stepped onto the court, but they more than made up for it with quickness and determination through the first three quarters.

Hillsboro’s Elias Werth opened the scoring with a three-point basket 36 seconds into the contest, but the Trojans didn’t score again until Wes Shaw scored in the paint with 42 seconds left in the quarter. A basket by Joe Knoll with 1.5 seconds left gave the Trojans a 7-6 edge as the quarter ended.

The two teams played even keel until Werth broke an 11-11 tie with a three-point basket at the 4:39 mark of the second quarter. He added seven more consecutive points to give the home team a 21-15 lead. But, as the first half ended, Larned was still within striking distance at 25-17.

“I thought offensively tonight we were a little impatient, especially the first quarter, but really the entire game,” Knoll said. “But we had stints where we looked really good and put some points on the board.”

Darian Ratzlaff heated up as the third quarter began, scoring eight consecutive points through the first 1:30. Hillsboro seemed to be on the verge of a knockout when Braden Vogt scored in the paint for a 37-27 lead with 5:11 left in the quarter.

But Larned had other thoughts, launching a 10-3 run to pull within 40-37 as the quarter ended.

Hillsboro finally found its rhythm in the final quarter. Carson Herbel and Ratzlaff nailed back-to-back threes to start, Werth followed with a traditional three-point play and Herbel scored two more points in the lane. Suddenly Hillsboro led, 51-37.

The two teams more or less played to a standoff the rest of the way.

“I thought (Larned) played great tonight,” Knoll said. “I thought offensively we were a little impatient, but our defense was tremendous. Every time they made a run at us, we responded. I was really pleased with the effort.”

Werth led Hills­boro with 16 points; Ratzlaff finished with 15. As a team, Hillsboro shot 44 percent (25-54) from the field.

Larned’s Johnathan Her­ter led all scorers with 20 points. The Indians shot 34 percent (17-50) from the field.

Nickerson—A 22-5 second quarter fueled the Trojans to a 68-41 win in the Central Kansas League opener for both schools.

Showing no signs of holiday rust, the Trojans jumped to a 13-2 lead midway through the first quarter. But Nickerson rallied to within 20-18 when Austin O’Toole hit a three-point basket in the final second.

Darian Ratzlaff, who scored nine points for Hills­boro in the first quarter, added eight more in the decisive second quarter. Carson Herbel contributed seven and Joe Knoll five to fuel the home team’s 42-23 halftime lead.

Hillsboro finished the third quarter on a 10-2 run to lead 58-33 heading into the final quarter. With the bench taking over down the stretch, Hillsboro won that quarter, too, 10-8.

Ratzlaff finished with 20 points to pace the 6-1 Tro­jans. Elias Werth added 14 and Herbel 11 to fuel the 27-point win.

The two teams shot essentially the same percentage from the floor—Hillsboro 37.5 and Nickerson 35.7—but the Trojans launched 24 more shots than Nickerson to account for their 27-point margin of victory.

Braden Stewart and Tan­ner Schrag each scored 13 points to lead Nickerson.

Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Hoising­ton (2-5, 2-0) Tuesday and then will travel to Haven (4-3, 2-0) Friday. For same-night coverage go to hillsborofreepress.com.