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Hillsboro boys prevail against Marion 45-37

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After Marion erased a 10-point first half deficit, the Hillsboro boys went on a 20-9 run in the third quarter Tuesday to take control of the game and come away with a 45-37 win.

Hillsboro opened the game by working the ball down low to Austin Cross for a layup. An 8-foot jumper by Josh Funk and a baseline shot by Micah Allen gave the Trojans a 6-4 lead. Hillsboro got a 5-point boost when Allen followed a Preston Loewen 3-pointer with a steal and a bucket. The Trojans led 14-4 at the end of the first quarter.

Marion chipped away at the lead in the second by scoring two quick buckets. After a Hillsboro timeout, Allen banked a shot home with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left in the period. The Trojans didn’t score again until Grant Knoll hit two free throws with :23 remaining. That was just enough time for Marion to answer with a basket, trimming the 10-point lead to 3, 18-15, at the half.

“I thought we went away from a lot of our offense, and that’s one of the things that let them back in,” coach Darrel Knoll said.

Marion tied the game at 18 on the opening possession of the third quarter. After the teams exchanged free throws, Allen fed a pass to Braden Vogt for a score, and then stole the ball for a layup to put the Trojans ahead 24-20. Vogt drained a 3-pointer from the left side, and Allen hit a free throw following a steal and foul. Cross scored two buckets down low, and Loewen hit a 3-pointer for a 36-25 lead. Grant Knoll ended the quarter with a driving bucket.

Hillsboro built a 14-point lead early in the fourth on an Allen 3-pointer, but went cold on its next seven possessions, allowing Marion to get back within 7, 41-34.

Inbounding the ball after a Marion timeout with 2 minutes, 14 seconds remaining, a defensive mix-up by the Warriors left Josh Funk open for an uncontested layup. The Trojans ran clock on their next two possessions to hold off the Warriors rally for the win.

“I thought for the most part we responded well there, because Marion played pretty hard down the stretch,” Knoll said. “They saw they had a chance, and any time a team sees that they’re dangerous.”

Knoll said his players executed well out of the final two time-outs.

“I told them to make sure they played solid defense, take care of the boards, and play smart on offense,” he said. “There was no need to be in a rush with the lead we had. We did a good job of running some time down, especially those last two minutes. They went a lot faster than I anticipated.”

Knoll said the offensive dry spells that aided Marion’s comebacks are a continuing concern.

“All year we’ve played pretty solid defense,” he said. “People haven’t put a ton of points up on us, but we have to score more.”

Last modified Jan. 29, 2015

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