The Hillsboro High School boys’ basketball team defeated Pratt, 49-44, Friday in Hillsboro.
The Trojans were down 19-16 at half but rattled off a 19-point third quarter. Hillsboro was spurred by aggressive defense in the quarter. Shaq Thiessen had a run of three consecutive steals mid-way through the third period. Most of his six takeaways in the game came from picking off looping wing-to-wing passes in the second half. Thiessen scored 22 points, the most in the game, primarily off fast break layups.
The Trojans completed 13 steals and forced 18 turnovers in the game.
“We just knew we had to pick up the pressure,” Hillsboro point guard Brett Weinbrenner said.
Brett Weinbrenner was the second leading scorer for Hillsboro with 11 points. However, he would not be trumped for dramatics. Weinbrenner drove to the basket with about 10 seconds left on the third quarter clock. He missed one shot, retrieved his own rebound and missed another attempt before falling onto his back to the floor. Somehow, a second wayward rebound found its way into Weinbrenner’s hands and he swiftly shot the ball from a seated position as the buzzer sounded; it swished through the net to the delight of the Hillsboro bench.
“That was insane,” Thiessen said. “That sparked us too.”
“It got coach Knoll to smile,” Weinbrenner added.
The Trojans were outscored in the fourth quarter, due in part because of a shooting barrage from Pratt guard Skylar Dean, who had 18 points in the game. Hillsboro had a 45-38 lead at the 2-minute mark; two and-one opportunities for Pratt shortened the deficit.
Hillsboro out-rebounded Pratt 30 to 24. Center Josh Wiebe and Thiessen each had seven boards. Harry Faber and Tyler Proffitt, fresh off an injury, had five rebounds each.
More importantly for Wiebe, he was tough on the boards without getting into foul trouble. He only had two fouls in the game, and one of those penalties occurred in garbage time.
“That was a tough thing to do because the game was called tight,” Weinbrenner said.
Utilizing over 28 minutes of playing time, Wiebe was integral to the Trojans offense in the first half. He worked in the high post, standing in the middle of Pratt’s 2-3 zone. From there, he had the option to take a 15-foot jumper or pass to Faber or Thiessen cutting to the hoop along the baseline. Wiebe had five points and two assists in the game.
“We’re working to get him open a lot more,” Thiessen said.
Thiessen and Weinbrenner agreed that Proffitt was a welcome addition back to the lineup. On Friday, Proffitt’s primary contributions came at the defensive end of the floor, checking any one of Pratt’s wing players.
“It’s nice to have another guard in the mix,” Weinbrenner said.
It was nice, in part, because Evan Ollenburger was sitting with a knee injury. Ollenburger had started every game for Hillsboro this season before Friday. Weinbrenner expects him to return to the lineup this week.