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Loss to Sterling sends Trojans stumbling

Hillsboro boys slip away to Sterling, 47-42

As the holiday season approaches, one of the things at the top of Trojan boys basketball coach Darrel Knoll’s wish list has to be getting consistent offense out of his team.

The young Trojans have faced some top-notch competition, but Hillsboro has never been over the 58-point mark in scoring, and two out of the five losses have been games within reach.

The second one came in this year’s finale Friday night in Hillsboro against the beatable Sterling Black Bears.

Ben Bebermeyer gave the Trojans their first lead of the game with less than four minutes remaining, 39-37, burying a three, but rugged shooting dashed Hillsboro’s chances to end the year with a win, 47-42.

“We played harder tonight, and we gave a great effort. There’s never been a lack of that,” Knoll said. “We’re struggling offensively to make shots that are open, number one, and number two, to run enough offense to get real open looks.

“Until we do, we’re going to keep struggling. We’ve got to break that. That’s really the bottom line. We haven’t shot the ball well this year.”

The loss sends Hillsboro reeling into the holiday break. They have dropped five of their first six games to stand at 1-5.

The rough final week of 2009 started Dec. 15, stumbling 57-38 to a good Nickerson Panther team.

The Trojans’ offensive struggles started right after the tip-off against the much taller Black Bears.

Even with Sterling’s edge in size, the Trojans were only out-rebounded by the Black Bears, 32-28, with Hillsboro getting a 9-5 advantage offensively.

Hillsboro missed its first four shots to open the game, suffering through a frigid 23 percent the first half — 33 for the game and a paltry 3-for-23 from outside.

Much as they have all year, even easy baskets were hard to come by for the Trojans.

Sterling had the Trojans doubled over after the first quarter, 10-5, with Jesse Allen beating the buzzer.

Allen scored a team-high 15 points with Bebermeyer adding 14 on 5-of-21 shooting.

Sterling was able to use its size to get easy baskets inside and stretch its lead as far as 23-12 until a pair of free throws from Bebermeyer made it a 23-14 game at the break.

Despite the Black Bears shooting a blistering 64 percent the second half — 50 overall —the Trojans opened the second half pulling to within five, which they did four times in the third quarter.

Sterling pushed its lead to 33-25, heading into the final frame.

Allen sparked a 9-0 run which narrowed the deficit to 35-34 with just over five minutes remaining.

Mason McCarty again made it a one-point game, and Bebermeyer finally got the Trojans over the hill.

Hillsboro’s lead held up for only 35 seconds though, and Austin Maxwell got six of his game-high 16 points in the waning 3:06 to mail the victory in.

Allen’s three with 22 seconds left gave the Trojans one last gasp, cutting the lead to 45-42, but a free throw by Maxwell and Trea Lott kept it a two-possession game.

“Offensively, we’ve got to be better,” Knoll said. “I think defensively we’re OK, teams aren’t scoring a ton on us, but we’re not scoring enough to win.”

The Trojans return to action Jan. 5, hosting Hoisington.

Last modified Dec. 24, 2009

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