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Swathers cruise to Classic title

Trojan boys finish 2-1 in Trojan Classic

Playing in their first Trojan Classic title game in five years, the Hillsboro High School boys basketball team would have had to play their best game of the season Saturday night in order to take down the Hesston Swathers.

The night before, the fifth-seeded Trojans knocked off top-seed Riley County in a 50-48 semifinal thriller of Hillsboro’s tournament.

Nine Trojans scored against the Falcons on Friday. Jarod Hamm and Christian Ratzlaff led the way with 10 points apiece. Hillsboro’s accuracy from beyond the arc — 35.3 percent — for the game made the infinitesimal difference in the final score. Hamm and Brett Weinbrenner each submitted two 3-pointers.

Although the Trojans were outrebounded and shot two percentage points worse from the field, the Trojans overcame a 12-4 deficit in the first quarter with an 18-point second period. They were able to hang on to a 2-point advantage after the third quarter and win a game that featured 4 lead changes in the final frame.

Had the Trojans been able to get out of the gate a little quicker against Hesston, the results may have gone in Hillsboro’s favor.

The Swathers (10-2) got off to a fast start, opening with a 9-0 run, rolling to a 47-33 win to capture first place, dropping Hillsboro to 7-6 on the year.

“I thought the first half we competed really hard, we held them to 18 points,” Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “Against them, that’s really impressive, especially after the way the game started.

“They play with such intensity, they’re quick, and they’re well coached. We’ve got to continue on working to get some offensive intensity.”

By the time Ben Bebermeyer scored Hillsboro’s first basket just over 6 minutes into the game, the Swathers were up, 9-0.

Brett Weinbrenner had a 3 to pull the Trojans to within 6, 11-5, but Hesston lead 14-5 to start the second quarter.

Weinbrenner finished with a team-high 11 points amidst dishing out a game-high 4 assists, but with the Swathers packing the lane, Hillsboro had to rely on its outside shooting.

The Trojans used a 7-2 run to start the second quarter, cutting the margin to 16-12 on a pair of free throws from Josh Wiebe with 5 minutes, 1 second left before the break.

The game slowed down in the final 4 minutes of the half. Lucas Petrocci’s basket with 2:45 to go in the second quarter was the only basket scored by either team.

Aided by Weinbrenner’s 8 points, including a pair of triples, the Trojans were in the game at halftime, despite shooting a bitter 17 percent from the floor, down 18-12.

Shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor the entire night, the Swathers broke open the game in the third quarter.

Bebermeyer’s 3-pointer, 49 seconds into the second half, brought Hillsboro to within 5 at 20-15.

Taylor Redding ripped Hillsboro for a game-high 21 points — 17 in the second half — sparking a 15-0 run after Bebermeyer’s trey, putting the game out of reasonable striking distance with a 20-point difference.

By the time Jesse Allen put an end to the lapse with a 3-pointer with a little less than 2 minutes remaining in the third quarter, nearly all the air had left the Trojans’ balloon, as they were down 35-20.

The Trojans were never able to pull any closer than 14 until Christian Ratlzaff canned a 3-pointer with 21 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 45-33.

Hillsboro warmed up to shoot 40 percent the second half, but the rugged first half left them shooting a chilly 29 for the night.

“We’re still too perimeter oriented,” Knoll said. “It was good to see us come back and play with a new intensity level because we got on our heels a little bit at the end of the third quarter.

“That was probably the best part of this game was the fact that we responded with some toughness.”

As for the Trojans ending a five-year hiatus from their own tournament title game, Knoll had high praise.

“We had a great tournament,” he said. “It was a disappointing loss for us in there and it should be, but we’ve got to build on the stuff we’re doing well and learn from the things we didn’t do quite so well.

“This is probably the best tournament we’ve had since 2006 in terms of finishing and getting back to the championship game. We did compete hard tonight.”

Hillsboro has a week’s rest before returning to action Feb. 1 in a rematch with the Swathers at Hesston.

Last modified Jan. 26, 2011

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