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Hillsboro ousted in sub-state final...gain

Vikings knock out Trojans, 53-51

Staff writer

After surviving a narrow escape Thursday night in the semifinals of the Marion sub-state against the hosting Warriors, many believed the Trojan boys had already played the real title game.

There wasn’t much imposing about the other finalist, the Mission Valley Vikings, outside their height and a 15-5 record.

The word the sub-state final had already been played must have never reached the Vikings, though.

For the second consecutive year, the sub-state final hurdle was too high for the Trojans to clear, dropping a 53-51 heart wrencher to Vikings.

Hillsboro’s season ends at 15-7.

“We put them on the line too many times,” a humbled Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “We also had a really tough night shooting.”

It certainly did not help that Wes Shaw was the only Trojan that could get anything going with the rest accounting for 26 points.

Just as he did in the win over Marion, Shaw wreaked havoc on the Vikings, scoring 21 of his game-high 25 points in the first half and all but 2 of Hillsboro’s 17 first-quarter points.

But 58 percent from the floor was as good as it would get for the Trojans the rest of the way, keeping the Vikings in the rearview mirror all night.

Hillsboro never got above 36 percent shooting again, finishing with a subpar 32 on the night.

Mission Valley lead as many as 26-21 with 3:51 left in the first before Shaw sent the Trojans in at halftime clinging to a 30-29 lead.

The Vikings threw a zone defense at Shaw the second half, preventing Hillsboro from getting anything easy inside, pulling ahead 39-35 after a Trojans’ scoring lapse.

Everything the Trojans used keeping pace with Vikings through three quarters at 42-42 seemed to vanish when they needed it most.

Hillsboro hit 5-for-6 at the free-throw line the fourth quarter and 12-for-15 on the night, but the Vikings had nine more attempts where they hit 20-of-24.

With their season in jeopardy of again ending one win short of qualifying for state, the Trojans were playing from behind the entire fourth quarter shooting a woeful 12 percent.

The Vikings’ Jake Benortham and PJ Meyers each had 15 points to go along with Brandon Hittle’s team-high 16.

Benortham basically put the game away with 12 seconds left, making the first of two free throws for a two-possession lead.

Caleb Rempel closed out his career with two points, beating the buzzer for the 53-51 final.

Playing his last game of a standout career, Darian Ratzlaff never got on track, finishing with 10 points on 3-of-13.

The Potuceks combined for 23 points in the win over Marion, but only mustered 14 against the Vikings with Matthew’s eight and Caleb’s six.

Shaw closed out his career 1 rebound shy of a fourth-straight double-double, aiding the Trojans beating the Vikings rebounding, 34-29, and 11-1 in second-chance points.

Joining the senior trio of Shaw, Rempel, and Ratzlaff in playing their final game were Brooks Gardner, Jorge Hanschu, Avery Unruh, and Joe Knoll, who had his high school career cut short in early January due to injury.

“I thought this team improved consistently throughout the year and overcame some key injuries,” Darrel Knoll said. “I enjoyed coaching them and I’ll miss the seniors. It was a great year of basketball.”

Last modified March 6, 2019

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