Hillsboro boys’ basketball head coach Darrel Knoll subscribed to the theory that defense wins basketball games. Tuesday against Lyons, that subscription paid dividends as a cold-shooting Trojans team shut down Lyons for a 33-29 win.
Hillsboro hit just 25 percent of its shots for the game, and an even worse performance in the fourth quarter kept the Lions’ hopes alive.
But thanks to tough defense, the Trojans weren’t the worst-shooting team in the building. — they held the Lions to 23 percent shooting.
“Defensively, we forced them into tough shots tonight,” Knoll said. “I don’t think they got many good wide open shots all night.”
While shots weren’t dropping, Knoll still saw positives when the Trojans were on offense.
“We got good shots, we got a lot of good shots we normally make,” Knoll said. “I don’t know how many we missed in the paint, point-blank shots. I don’t know how many layups we missed, but it was dreadful. If we make a few of those, this suddenly isn’t a tight game.”
When Austin Cross scored a basket and two free throws on consecutive fourth quarter possessions, the Trojans led 30-19. But the Lions clawed their way back to 30-26 with just over a minute remaining.
Lyons had the ball and a chance to draw even closer, but Cross smothered a shot in the lane that the Trojans recovered. Grant Knoll hit the front end of a 1-and-1 with 44 seconds left, and Micah Allen took a missed Lyons 3-pointer the length of the court for a layup and a 33-26 lead. The Lions connected on one more 3-point shot, but missed another as time expired.
Cross and Allen scored 11 each for the Trojans, and Josh Funk scored 6.
Hillsboro’s next contest is Friday at home against Larned.