Head coach Darrel Knoll thought something was off with the Hillsboro High School boys’ basketball team in their 56-42 loss to Smoky Valley Friday in Hillsboro.
“We didn’t come out with any energy. We let them control the pace. We didn’t rebound well and we didn’t pass the ball up court,” Knoll said. “I don’t know what the problem was.”
Part of the problem was that Smoky Valley played extremely well on offense. Starting Viking shooting guard Nick Deterding scored 23 points. He showed off every facet of his game, from driving for contested layups or getting to the line, to knocking down NBA-range 3-pointers. A variety of Trojans guarded Deterding but Evan Ollenburger drew the assignment most of the night. As he is apt to do, Ollenburger fouled out near the end of the fourth quarter, accumulating those penalties trying to check Deterding in vain.
It was not a one-man band for Smoky Valley. Taylor Base scored 8 points and Holden Hendricks scored 6 points. The Vikings also controlled the paint on defense with Hendriks supplying intimidation with three blocks.
Part of the reason the Trojans had less energy, ran the floor less often, and ran a less efficient offense was the absence of senior forward Jesse Allen. Knoll sat Allen after the player suffered back spasms during a win against Sterling on Feb. 7. The injury was not serious; Knoll said he was being cautious because he wants Allen healthy for the stretch run.
Knoll said Allen’s high level of play was one of the reasons the Trojans had rattled off eight-consecutive wins before the loss Friday.
“He is one of the top rebounders on the team, and when he corrals a board he always looks to push the floor. Once on the break, Allen is unselfish and usually finds an open teammate streaking to the basket. Allen is a leader on and off the court,” he said.
“He has been our leader,” Knoll said. “He does all the tough things. He may not always show up with a high number in the scoring column but he does everything else for us.”
The Trojans did not play poorly. The Smoky Valley lead was a 10-point advantage most of the night that the Vikings stretched with free-throw shooting in the final 2 minutes of the game.
Shaq Thiessen had another great game for Hillsboro, contributing 13 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist.
Christian Ratzlaff also submitted one of his most complete games. He scored 6 points on two 3-pointers and added 3 assists and 2 rebounds. He made the play of the game for the Trojans when he saved a bounding loose ball by flinging a looping pass back to the Trojans on the perimeter. The possession eventually ended with a Thiessen 3-pointer.
Brett Weinbrenner was the second leading scorer for Hillsboro with 9 points on three 3-pointers. Josh Wiebe also had 5 rebounds, 4 offensive, to go along with 6 points.
Although the Trojans were still able to put up stats, they were an incomplete team on Friday.
“We played below ourselves,” Knoll said.
The Trojans played Halstead Tuesday in Halstead. They travel to Kingman on Friday.
Thiessen: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist; Weinbrenner: 9 pts, 1 reb, 1 steal; Ratzlaff: 6 pts, 2 reb, 3 asts; Wiebe: 6 pts, 5 reb; Brandon Rooker: 4 pts, 1 reb; Ollenburger: 3 pts; Luke Moore: 1 ast.