Trojans advance against Herington
The last time the Trojan boys’ basketball team was in action Feb. 21, a 26-point swing cost Hillsboro a 70-60 overtime loss to Smoky Valley.
With an open date Friday, coach Darrel Knoll used the next three days to get the kinks worked out of the hose that led to a pair of back-to-back losses.
The short break seemed to pay off in Monday night’s opening round of the Canton-Galva sub-state, with top-seeded Hillsboro hosting an undermanned Herington Railers team.
Hillsboro flexed its muscles in the game’s opening 5 minutes, using its first of two major runs for a combined 31 points to crush the Railers, 58-23.
“Our intensity and sharpness was back up to where it’s been the early part of the season,” Knoll said. “We cleaned up some fundamentals defensively and offensively.
“They (Railers) struggled to get their rhythm because we took away a lot of the things they wanted do.”
Even advancing the ball past midcourt was a chore for the Railers, who were buried under a 16-0 avalanche before scoring their first basket with 40 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Trojans came out on fire, hitting 7 of their first 8 shots en route to a blazing 70 percent the first quarter and 50 percent overall.
The quick start allowed Knoll to utilize his entire bench, with Wes Shaw scoring a game-high 12 points behind 6-for-7 shooting from the floor.
Already in grave danger of the dam bursting to start the second quarter, Herington trailed as many as 19 before the Trojans grabbed a commanding 28-11 halftime lead.
Carson Herbel sparked Hillsboro’s other explosion—a 15-0 salvo — that left the Railers in a 43-11 jam before they were able to score their first basket of the second half with 1:30 to go in the third frame.
The Trojan defense limited Herington to a gruesome 13 percent shooting in the third quarter and 27 overall. The 22-2 outburst helped set the table for a running clock the fourth quarter.
Hillsboro’s victory snaps a two-game skid, upping its record to 15-6 overall.
The Trojans await the winner of Chase County-Moundridge in Thursday’s semifinals at Canton.
State-ranked and top-seeded Moundridge was a tough draw for the Lady Trojans’ opening round opponent, and proved to be an insurmountable hurdle, as Hillsboro saw its season come to an end with a 46-25 loss.
The Lady Trojans finished the season with a 5-16 record.