Trojan Classic pulls teams from corners of state

News editor

The Trojan Classic basketball tournament started Monday in Hillsboro with teams from almost all across the state.

Wamego made the 100-mile trip from northeast Kansas, Holcomb traveled about 220 miles from southwest Kansas, and on Tuesday Goodland traveled nearly 300 miles from northwest Kansas, crossing the boundary between Central and Mountain time zones in the process.

Even including nearby Hesston, the average travel distance for the seven visiting teams is more than 140 miles one way.

This is Holcomb’s second time in the tournament. The drive is about 3½ hours. Athletic director Jerry Johnson said they came to the Trojan Classic to face teams they wouldn’t otherwise see.

They play so many of the teams in western Kansas multiple times every year. One year, the Longhorn girls faced Scott City five times in the season.

Johnson also said the tournament is a good one because of the high level of competition. Six of the girls’ teams and three of the boys’ teams are ranked by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association. That includes the top three girls’ teams in 3A.

“Our girls really benefit from it,” Johnson said.

The team was undefeated entering the 2013 Trojan Classic, but lost two games in the tournament. He said that showed them there was another level of competition and helped prepare them for the postseason, when they defeated Cimarron to advance to the state tournament.

The one negative for a team traveling as far as Holcomb or Goodland is making travel arrangements, including staying overnight. With the current format of the tournament, Holcomb could have teams stay overnight Thursday and Friday, Johnson said.

Even that can help prepare a team for the state tournament, though, he added. Next year the tournament format will cut back from playing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to just Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, requiring at most one overnight stay.

The field will change significantly for next year’s tournament, though. Hillsboro activity director Robert Rempel said Wamego and Goodland have chosen to enter midseason tournaments closer to home, and Thomas More Prep-Marian of Hays will have a midseason league tournament.

Boys edge out Goodland

Seeded No. 2 in the Trojan Classic, the Hillsboro boys played Goodland in the first round Tuesday.

The Trojans and Cowboys traded baskets and the lead for much of the first half. Hillsboro led 26-22 at halftime.

The Trojans started the second half with full-court pressure defense that gave Goodland trouble, and Hillsboro maintained a narrow lead throughout the third quarter, leading 37-34 at the end of the quarter.

Goodland kept the game close in the fourth quarter, cutting Hillsboro’s lead to one point several times, but Hillsboro was able to make free throws down the stretch to secure a 50-47 victory.

Christian Ratzlaff led the Trojans in scoring with 20 points. He also had 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks in the game. Brett Weinbrenner added 10 points, 2 assists, and 2 steals. Micah Allen had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

The Trojans will play against Holcomb at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the tournament semifinals.

Boys defeat Nickerson

The Hillsboro boys defeated the Nickerson Panthers 56-41 Friday on the road.

Hillsboro led 17-14 after the first quarter and gradually increased its lead to the final margin of 15.

Girls easily defeat Republic County

The Hillsboro girls cruised to a 47-23 victory against the Republic County Buffaloes on Tuesday.

Hillsboro led 12-4 after one quarter, 27-9 at halftime, and 34-15 after three quarters. Republic County made only 16 percent of its shots in the game.

Addie Lackey had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. Alex Ratzlaff scored 11 points and contributed 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 steals, and a block. Danae Bina added 8 points, 3 rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

The Trojans’ next game will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Riley County.

Girls blow out Nickerson

The girls jumped out to a 21-2 lead in the first quarter Friday at Nickerson and finished with an easy 64-26 victory.

The Trojans shot 46 percent while limiting the Panthers to 26 percent shooting for the game.

 

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