While practice might make perfect, the one thing it doesn’t provide a team is an adequate way to gauge opponents’ defensive intensity.
As it relates to the Hillsboro High School boys’ basketball team, going against their archrival and 3A’s top team, the Wichita Collegiate Spartans, Hillsboro showed it’s got a long way to go before its worthy of a number three ranking.
Collegiate stepped on the gas from the tip-off, using a quick start and a smothering defense to fly past the Trojans in Hillsboro’s home opener Friday night, 60-37.
“I was a little concerned going into this game because we’re still developing our depth and practice-wise, we don’t practice against any kind of intensity like that,” said Trojan coach Darrell Knoll. “I knew it would be a tough game for us, but we’ve got a lot of things to learn from it. We’ll pick ourselves up and be better the next time we play them.”
The Cardinal Classic, hosted by Cheney, is now on deck this week with games against Smoky Valley and Cheney.
Collegiate started the game with an 8-0 run, and opened it up even more, leading 18-7 after the first quarter.
The Spartans showed their depth, going 10 players into the rotation to keep fresh legs on the court and harass Hillsboro.
Daniel Jost scored the first Trojan basket nearly three minutes into the game, and Clay Shewey’s free throw with 4:28 left in the first quarter marked the last time Hillsboro trailed by single digits.
Andrew Hourani’s steal and fast break sparked a 10-1 run for Collegiate to start the second quarter, and by the time the Trojans had an answer, the Spartans had blown the lid off, up 31-8.
Collegiate’s pressure defense kept the Trojans uncomfortable on offense, forcing 15 first-half turnovers — 21 for the game — which led to easy points in transition while Hillsboro struggled to find the basket.
Shewey scored a quiet game-high 14 points as the Trojans suffered through an icy 5-of-20 shooting the first half, and a rugged 2-for-11 in the second quarter with Collegiate sailing smoothly into the break, 37-14.
David Loewen gave Hillsboro a big boost, both offensively with second chance points while rebounding, and disrupting shots defensively.
Blake Jablonski and Gideon Massey combined to drop 25 points on the Trojans, and Hourani rounded out the balanced scoring with 10 more points.
The Trojans adjusted better the second half to the Spartans’ press, but the hole was too deep to emerge from with Jablonski giving Collegiate its largest lead of the night, 54-23, in the waning minute of the third quarter.
It was both good and bad for Hillsboro with the 30-point rule forcing a continuous clock the fourth quarter.
“We made a lot of mistakes tonight,” Knoll said. “I thought we’d handle their pressure a little better than we did tonight, but we’ve got to look at it and get ourselves better than what we are right now.
“I’m confident we’ll become a good team this year. They got a roll on us, we missed shots, we missed free-throws and we got rattled tonight. We really had a hard time recovering from that.”