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TMP rallies to hand Trojans sixth place

Free-throw line costs Hillsboro boys in 45-42 loss

When Hillsboro High School Trojan basketball coach Darrel Knoll thinks back on the first half of what has been a frustrating season, the question “what if” may be one that frequently crosses his mind.

He, along with the rest of the Trojans, would have a good reason to be wondering the outcome had Hillsboro been able to just make four more free throws.

Making 11-for-20 would have been enough to get the job done, let alone clinch fifth place Saturday afternoon in Hillsboro’s Trojan Classic. Instead, the best the Trojans, at 2-10, could muster was a woeful 7-for-20, the biggest ally being the Thomas More Prep Monarchs, at 4-8, had in coming from behind to take fifth place with a 45-42 win.

“I think the biggest thing was 3-for-13 from the line in the first half,” Knoll said. “They gained momentum, and this game was really about momentum when it came right down to it.”

Hillsboro had plenty of it to start the game, forcing the Monarchs into missing seven out of their first eight shots while opening up a 9-2 lead just over 3 minutes into the game.

Even playing one of their best quarters of the season, the Trojans couldn’t take firm control of the game.

Kelton Shuckman sparked a 7-0 run, and TMP squared the game at 9-9 before giving up five straight points, on which Hillsboro built a 16-9 lead to close the first quarter.

Jarod Hamm buried back-to-back threes to push the Trojans’ lead to 24-13 with just over six minutes left in the first half.

Ben Bebermeyer finished with a game-high 14 points, matching Hillsboro’s largest lead of the game, 25-13, with a free throw.

That was the final point the Trojans could muster in the remaining 5:52 of the half, and Bebermeyer picked up his third foul with 2:45 before halftime.

TMP had a slew of chances to take over the lead early, outrebounding Hillsboro offensively the first half, 13-2, en route to crushing the Trojans overall, 40-23, with an 18-7 edge on offense.=

Pierce Schippers drained a pair of free throws, sparking a 9-0 run, capped by Nate Zimmerman’s three right before the buzzer.

The Monarchs were back in the game by halftime, even shooting a 28 percent from the field.

The Trojans were able to enjoy a six-point lead throughout much of the third quarter, only another scoring lapse set up a six-point swing for TMP.

Taylor Pfeifer scored four straight points with just over 10 seconds left in the third.

Even worse, Bebermeyer was whistled for his fourth foul with 2:14 left in the third, and less than a minute later, Jesse Allen committed his fourth.

Bebermeyer did all he could to keep the Trojans within striking distance, reclaiming the lead nearly two minutes into the fourth quarter.

He gave the Trojans their last lead, 38-37, with 6:08 left, but after that, the Monarchs never looked back.

Bebermeyer picked up his fifth foul with 3:48 to go.

The Monarchs still weren’t out of the woods, even after Nick Kammeke gave them a 43-38 lead during a 4:20 scoring drought. Despite the struggles at the line and shooting 43 percent from the floor, one free throw from Allen had the Trojans within one, 43-42, with 39 seconds left.

Even with Jordan Maska’s pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining, which made for the final, Hillsboro had one chance. Allen’s desperation three never found the rim to preserve fifth place for the Monarchs.

“We kept battling. We had our chances,” Knoll said. “We play to win, and I thought maybe at the end we were playing not to lose a little bit. We’ve got to band together as a team and work on getting more consistent.”

The Trojans face another tough test Friday in the makeup game against visiting Hoisington in a tipoff set for around 8 p.m.

Last modified Jan. 27, 2010

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