Trojans whack Nickerson 59-54


Jesse Allen takes on two Nickerson defenders and scores Thursday. The extra effort helped boost the Trojans to a 59-54 win despite circumstances that reduced the roles played by several usual starters.

The Hillsboro High boys overcame adversity on a number of fronts to beat a determined Nickerson squad, 59-54, Thurs?day at Brown Gymnasium.

The game, rescheduled from Dec. 16, was a non-league rematch that wouldn?t count for sub-state seedings. Beyond that, Clay Shewey was sitting out after sustaining a concussion in the loss to Collegiate Tuesday.

Once the game started, the Trojans got themselves into foul trouble, with starters David Loewen and Andy Klassen finding more pine time than was prudent against a Panther squad that seemed determined to avenge a 54-44 loss to Hillsboro two weeks earlier.

?I was proud of us, that we kept playing,? coach Darrel Knoll said afterward. ?Nothing seemed to be going our way. You?ve got to give Nickerson credit?they came to play. They were sharp tonight and one step ahead of us.?

Even so, the Trojans led the Panthers 12-8 after one quarter and 27-23 at halftime. The margin was still four points?32-28?when Loewen, who had already sat out much of the second quarter, picked up his fourth foul with 4:37 left in the third period.

When Loewen re-entered the contest with 5:46 left in the game, the Trojans were trailing 43-41, and his presence in the paint seemed to solidify the team.

Jesse Allen tied the game on Hillsboro?s next possession. After Hillsboro rebounded a missed 3-point attempt by Nickerson, Jost was fouled with 3:59 to go. He made the first of two free throws, then missed the second. But in the battle for the rebound, the ball deflected off a Nickerson player and went out of bounds. HHS retained possession and Jost then scored 35 seconds later for a 46-43 margin.

That proved to be the turning point as Hillsboro maintained a 53-49 lead heading into the final minute. Jost then preserved the win by hitting six straight free-throws down the critical home stretch.

In a game where the Trojans as a team seemed a bit out of sync, Jost excelled on both ends of the court, finishing with 26 points as HHS, completed its regular season with a 13-7 record while Nickerson dropped to 9-11.

For the game, Nickerson outshot the Trojans from the floor, 48 percent (19-40) to 42 percent (19-45). Despite his time on the bench, Loewen also broke double figures with 11 points, as did Ben Bebermeyer.

Collegiate? If there?s a bright side to s 63-54 loss, it would be that the Trojans gave the undefeated and top-ranked Spartans their toughest test of the season last Tuesday in Wichita.

Hillsboro appeared headed for a dark night in the early-going, trailing the hot-shooting ? 9-for-12 with four 3-pointers ? Spartans 22-13 after one quarter.

But the second quarter belonged to HHS, who outscored Collegiate 16-6 and left the Spartans trailing at halftime for the first time this season, 29-28.

Ben Bebermeyer fueled the turnaround with three 3-pointers during the quarter, including two in the final minute.

Collegiate scored five points in the first 40 seconds of the third quarter to retake the lead for good. When David Loewen made one of two free-throws with 3:50 left, HHS was still within two, 38-36. But a three-point play by Tre Bailey ignited an 11-0 run to boost the lead to 49-36 at the 1:12 mark.

Hillsboro rallied with three free-throws from Loewen and a big 3-point basket at the buzzer by Michael Klaassen to trail by 10 at the final break, 52-42.

Both teams started the fourth quarter slowly on the offensive end, but Hillsboro jiggered a 6-0 run over a 4:44 span to pull within 52-48 after a basket by Jesse Allen. Blake Jablonski countered with his seventh 3-point basket of the night, pushing the lead back to seven.

The game then took on a sober tone as Clay Shewey came down hard after somersaulting over the player he was defending under the Collegiate basket. More than 20 minutes passed before Shewey was carted off the court by an EMT crew. It was determined at the hospital that he suffered a mild concussion.

Given the incident, it was hard for either team to return to the competitive level it had prior to the stoppage of play. Hillsboro was forced to foul to get the ball back and the Spartans made them pay by hitting eight straight charities to build their nine-point lead at the end.

?We played hard, and that?s what we set out to do?to compete and give it our best shot,? coach Darrel Knoll said. ?I was pleased with our effort.?

Bebermeyer, who had 15 points in the first half, led the Trojans with 19 points while Loewen added 15. Jablonski led Collegiate with 23 and Bailey added 12.

?Defensively, we just really lost Jablonski in the mix,? Knoll said. ?He did a nice job of getting himself open, but I thought we could have done a better job on him. I thought that was the difference in the ball game.?

As a team, the Trojans actually outshot the Spartans, 53 percent (20-38) to 36 percent (21-46).

Coming?The No.3 seeded Trojans (13-7) were to open sub-state play Tuesday night at home against No. 6 Marion (5-15). Go to for an early report of that game.

The winner of that game will play the winner of No. 2 Sedgwick (18-2) and No. 7 St. John?s Military (3-16) at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Marion. The championship game will be at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, also in Marion.

The four teams on the other side of the bracket are No. 1 Hutchinson Trinity (20-0), No. 4 Halstead (11-9), No. 5 Remington (6-14) and No. 8 Southeast of Saline (3-17).

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