Coach is still pleased with 2-1 start
The Hillsboro High School boys’ basketball team was on its way back into the championship game with Moundridge Friday in Moundridge, but fell short, 54-49.
Christian Ratzlaff had just knocked down from the right wing of the court. On the next Trojan possession, he hit both free throws to make the score 39-35 with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter.
In between those plays, Evan Ollenburger fouled out on a reach-in foul against Trey Unrau, on the Wildcat side of the floor.
Ollenburger had been the most effective defender against Unrau all night. The Moundridge gunner gashed the Trojans for 27 points and added four assists, the most for Moundridge.
“He’s a hardnosed player,” head coach Darrel Knoll said of Ollenburger. “He knows how to make someone uncomfortable. It’s too bad he sat on the bench for the remainder of the game.”
The Trojans had actually taken their first lead of the game in the third quarter, 27-25, on a Shaq Thiessen corner three but could not match Moundridge’s high-powered attack in the fourth quarter.
“Defensively we still played a good game,” Knoll said. “Offensively, we just didn’t execute.”
Knoll said the Trojans hesitated on many shots, hitting the front rim throughout the game.
Hillsboro outrebounded Moundridge, 26-19; recorded more assists, 8-5; and had as many turnovers, 7-7. The difference was in shooting, especially at the free-throw line. The Wildcats actually hit fewer shots, 18-15, but sank 13 more free throws, 21-8. The Trojans were saddled with 13 more fouls, 25-12.
Ratzlaff and Jesse Allen led the Trojans with 12 points each. Allen also recorded six rebounds. Wiebe was Hillsboro’s top boarder with nine; he scored 9 points.
Thiessen and Bret Weinbrenner scored 8 points each.
“You’d like to win ugly and learn from that,” Knoll said. “It was a hard fought game and we’re still a good team.”
The Hillsboro High School boys’ basketball team employed breakneck speed to build a big lead against Garden Plain Thursday. They won the game, 51-30.
One play that exemplified the Trojans style of play happened at the end of the first half.
Trojan power forward Allen picked off a wayward Owl pass under the basket with 19.7 seconds left in the first half. Instead of tucking the ball down, Allen rifled a chest pass to guard Luke Moore who sprinted up the court drawing three Owl defenders as he went to rim.
Moore released a wild layup attempt, but his teammates met him down the floor. Center Wiebe caught the rebound off the backboard but could not score on the put back. Shooting guard Thiessen was behind his junior teammate and came down with the ball, while fighting with an Owl. He sneaked the ball into the hoop as time expired.
While starting slow, with only four points in the first 4 minutes of the first quarter, the Trojans literally ran away from Garden Plain, scoring the majority of their points on fast breaks.
The catalyst on both ends of the floor was sophomore point guard Brett Weinbrenner. Weinbrenner hassled Owl guards all the way down the court in the Trojans full-court man-to-man defense.
“His defense was tremendous,” coach Darrell Knoll said. “He does all the little things.”
Once turnovers were forced, Weinbrenner often led the Trojan fast breaks. He had two well-thrown outlet passes, one to Wiebe and the other to Evan Ollenburger, that led directly to layups in the third quarter.
Weinbrenner led the Trojans with four assists. He set the example for the team that spread the ball around well, compiling 13 assists on the night.
“We moved the ball really well all night,” Knoll said.
Even though his contributions were more than enough to help the team win, Knoll said Weinbrenner was disappointed in his shooting. The sophomore guard scored 3 points Thursday.
“Once he gets that going, we’ll be tough to stop,” Knoll said.
Moore, Ollenburger, and Wiebe also recorded outlet passing assists. Knoll said that has been one of the greatest areas of improvement for the team, because players are hustling down court and passers are looking and finding their teammates on the break.
Coming off an illness that kept him out of several practices, Thiessen was the Trojans’ leading scorer coming off the bench. He had 14 points, scoring 6 in the first quarter to ignite the Hillsboro offense.
Wiebe was second leading scorer with 11, and the team’s leading rebounder. Knoll praised both Wiebe’s toughness on the glass and his intelligence in ability to finish around the rim.
“He played a smart game,” Knoll said of Wiebe.