The Hillsboro High School boys’ basketball team defeated Hesston 47-40 Tuesday in Hillsboro.
The Trojans showed little malaise after 10 days off from a scorching hot stretch during the Hillsboro Tournament.
Hillsboro took a 13-2 lead after the first quarter, using effective ball movement and cutting to find open shots.
Shaq Thiessen was electric for the Trojans off the bench. The junior guard poured in 14 points on a variety of transition, driving, and long-distance baskets.
However, Thiessen’s most exciting plays came on the defensive end of the court. He recorded three steals. With each he read the eyes of the passer, tipped the ball in stride, and converted with an easy layup on the other end.
“He just gets out so fast after steals,” head coach Darrel Knoll said. “He plays with a lot of energy. He was the difference for us in the first half.”
Thiessen also notched 2 blocks. The first came in the middle of the second quarter when Thiessen had to spin around the jump-shooting Swather, and stuffed the ball back to the ground.
The second came in the third quarter. Eyan Roth thought he had an easy route to the tin when Thiessen cleanly swatted the ball out of his outstretched hands.
“It looked like a clear layup and Shaq came out of nowhere,” Knoll said.
Hillsboro’s second leading scorer with 7 points and top rebounder, with 6, was Josh Wiebe. The interior player benefited from deft passes by Jesse Allen and Brett Weinbrenner, but also cleaned up the offensive glass, scoring multiple put-backs.
Knoll said it was nice to get Wiebe back into the offensive mix; he was not receiving as many opportunities throughout the Trojans’ January six-game winning streak.
Hesston refused to go away in the game, bringing the score to 45-38 with 1:38 left. But, the Swathers were forced to foul and Hillsboro failed to convert on four consecutive trips to the line.
“Usually we’re such a good free-throw shooting team. It hasn’t been often where we don’t shoot 70 percent,” Knoll said.