The Hillsboro High School boys basketball team avenged a Dec. 21 loss at Sterling with a 79-63 win Tuesday at home.
“We don’t like Sterling very much,” Hillsboro forward Josh Wiebe said.
The game was closer than the score would indicate. The Trojans were up 29-23 with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. Then Chad Bennett scored on consecutive layups and Matt DeWerff nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game.
“I think we were just mad for letting them get back in the game,” Wiebe said.
Hillsboro focused that anger and went on a 13-0 run to start the third quarter, spurred by two Brett Weinbrenner 3-pointers. The Trojans held a 10-point cushion for most of the half until free-throws pushed the final margin to 16.
“We did a great job of controlling the pace of the game,” head coach Darrell Knoll said.
Knoll was also pleased with the way the Trojans played with an abnormally high number of whistles in the contest. There were 27 fouls called in the second half.
“Both teams played extremely hard and ran the floor hard,” Knoll said. “When that happens, there’s a lot of fouls called.”
Since a win against Nickerson in January, the Trojans have been looking to run the floor at every opportunity. Knoll said this development has made the offense sharper in every department.
Wiebe was the high scorer with 16 points. He was one of the Trojan post players who ran the floor, getting open for easy baskets on assists by Weinbrenner, Jesse Allen, and Christian Ratzlaff.
The other Trojan to take advantage of this scoring opportunity was Brandon Rooker who scored 11 points. Many of his layups were contested and the senior post player was able to get his player airborne to hit the basket freely.
“For a guy to get limited minutes and have him play like that, it showed what a great team player he is,” Knoll said.
Allen was the leading assist man for Hillsboro with 4 helpers. His great passing run over the past seven games continued with several bounce pass looks to Trojans running the floor.
Along with 3 assists, Brett Weinbrenner scored 14 points. He hit a majority of his shots from the outside including a deep two to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter.
Shaq Thiessen had the most highlight-quality lay-ins as a part of his 15 points. He hit three different reverse layups in the second half. On one, he switched the ball from one hand to the other to hit the basket around a defender.
Off the bench, Evan Ollenburger had 4 rebounds from his guard position and drew two offensive fouls.
Eight Trojans scored in the game and the team is playing its best basketball of the season.
“We beat an excellent team tonight,” Knoll said. “We had to play well to win by that much.”