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Trojans boys win Moundridge tournament

News editor

A frantic dash and last-second jumper by Micah Allen propelled the Hillsboro boys’ basketball team to the Moundridge Tournament title with a 45-43 win over the Wildcats.

The Trojans led by as many as 9 points in the second half, and were ahead 43-38 with 1 minute, 31 seconds to play after two Austin Cross free throws.

But Moundridge battled back with a score on the ensuing possession, and after a Hillsboro miss, the Wildcats called timeout. Kyle Stucky fired a bounce pass to Noah Eichelberger, who scored underneath and was fouled. He made the free throw to tie the score at 43.

The Trojans took a timeout with 14 seconds to play, but Parker Lange stole the inbounds pass and was fouled by Preston Loewen. Lange stepped to the line but misfired. Allen took an outlet pass off the rebound and raced down court, with Moundridge defenders in front of him. Driving hard, he suddenly pulled up just inside the free-throw line and launched a shot that fell as time expired.

“Fortunately for us we were able to overcome the two mistakes we made down here at the end,” head coach Darrel Knoll said. “I thought the guys did a tremendous job of competing to the end.”

Both teams started the game slowly. Hillsboro didn’t score until a 3-pointer by David Dick at 4:36 in the first quarter, but the basket gave the Trojans a 3-2 lead. With Hillsboro leading 9-5, Moundridge went on a 7-0 run to close the quarter, leading 12-9.

The Trojans answered with an 8-0 run to open the second quarter, with two 3-pointers by
Allen and a bucket by Josh Funk. The Wildcats came back to tie the score at 17, then Allen scored and Loewen hit a three to put Hillsboro up 22-20 at the half.

The Trojans came out in the third intent on using their size advantage, working the ball underneath to Cross for two quick baskets. Allen dropped a long three and hit a 12-footer to extend the lead to 31-23, but Moundridge pulled back to within four at the end of the quarter.

“Austin did a great job inside of playing smart and contested a lot of shots,” Knoll said. “Micah had a really good game again, and the younger guys keep growing up. It was a good team win.”

The Trojans shot 42 percent from the field and made 7 of 14 3-pointers, while holding Moundridge to 32 percent shooting.

Allen led all scorers with 17 points. Grant Knoll and Loewen each scored 7, and Cross hit for 6.

Hillsboro split its first two tournament games, losing to Lyons 39-34, and beating Inman 50-36. The Trojans and Wildcats finished with identical 2-1 records, with Hillsboro’s head-to-head win determining the championship.

Last modified Dec. 18, 2014

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