Swathers cut down Trojans for sweep
Despite a winless week, there’s still some good news for the Trojan basketball teams.
They won’t be seeing either of perennial CKL menaces Halstead or Hesston again this year.
Unfortunately, it added up to negative results Friday night with the ranked Swathers taking a pair from their visiting rival Trojans.
The Swathers handed the girls’ team a sixth straight loss, 55-34, while Hesston’s boys dealt the Trojans their third loss in five games.
Hesston’s sweep drops the girls to 8-11 while the boys fall to 14-5.
Just as they have all season, the Trojans again proved they can go toe-to-toe with the best of them for a while.
However, an inability to keep it going, especially against top-notch competition, continued after Hillsboro took a 13-12 lead to start the second frame.
That’s where the game started slipping away with Hesston settling in to quell Hillsboro’s offensive onslaught take over the lead.
The Trojans went nearly an entire quarter trying to buy a basket, and by the time Abby Sechrist ended the lapse with 2:36 left in the first half, Hesston had long since moved ahead, 21-15.
Even shooting a miserable 2-for-15 the second quarter and 30 percent for the game, the Trojans were still within striking distance at halftime, down 25-17.
By the time Kinsey Kleiner buried a three for Hillsboro’s first basket of the second half just over 4:30 in, an 11-0 run had washed away any chance of the Trojans hanging around, down 34-20.
Behind the balanced scoring attack from the trio of Elise Kaiser, Celbi Richardson, and Rylie Schilling, Hesston pushed its lead as far as 43-22 with 2:29 still left in the third quarter.
The Trojans never got closer than 18 the fourth quarter, hampered by 18 percent shooting.
“We show great potential at times, coach Nathan Hiebert said. “We’ve talked about consistency and taking care of the little things. When we do that, we can compete. When we don’t, we struggle.”
Teegan Werth scored a team-high 11 points, while Sienna Kaufman and Kleiner combined for 14.
Second place in the CKL was on the line, but a 15-point first-quarter eruption by Reese Nebel put the Trojans behind the eight-ball early, assuring the Swathers’ sole possession of second place.
After four lead changes in as many minutes of the first quarter, Nebel buried the go-ahead basket with 3:48 still left in the opening stanza.
Hillsboro then spent the remainder of the contest trying to combat the Swathers’ hot-shooting 67 percent the first quarter and 43 overall.
The Trojans’ usual high scoring trio of Darian Ratzlaff, Elias Werth, and Wes Shaw, was only two, with Werth unable to buy a basket anywhere on the floor.
Ratzlaff did all he could, countering Nebel’s game-high 31 points with 29 of his own, but foul trouble for Shaw, Brodie Rathbone, and Werth left Hillsboro at the Swathers’ mercy inside.
Hesston took advantage of the Trojans’ thinness in the frontcourt, racing to a 36-21 lead at the break with Hillsboro limited to a miserable 1-for-11 the second quarter and 33 percent for the game.
With Werth in a funk, Hillsboro’s only production came from Ratzlaff, Shaw, Caleb Potucek, and Caleb Rempel.
Werth finally scored Hillsboro’s final basket of the third quarter with just over a minute left to pull to 45-30, but he managed to pick up twice as many fouls as his two field goals.
Hillsboro still gave chase with Rempel sinking two free throws with 6:23 left in the game to trim the lead as close as 50-39 with a 23-19 fourth quarter.
“They shot lights out the first quarter, we weren’t great on defense, but they hit every shot they made,” a frustrated Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “That’s pretty hard to defend when they’re hitting every shot that goes in.
“The foul trouble really cost us with Wes and Brodie. That’s depth we don’t have, but we’re missing shots we’ve made all year and not putting the ball in the basket.”
Last modified Feb. 22, 2018