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Trojans capture Moundridge preseason tournament title

Lady Trojans finish second at Moundridge

Staff writer

One goal the Trojan boys’ basketball team set for itself when the season began was to win the Moundridge Preseason Tournament.

With Lyons, Inman, and the hosting Wildcats competing, it wasn’t unrealistic and could be done easily—pending on Hillsboro’s game.

Hillsboro (4-0) had to rally from being down as many as 14 in the second quarter in Friday’s finale for a thrilling 47-44 victory over the feisty Wildcats.

“To come back and win that game on their floor was quite an amazing thing,” Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “When we were down in that hole I told them to keep playing.

“We had a lot of guys contribute tonight, I was pleased with the win. It was a good team effort once again.”

It was a truly amazing win considering Moundridge jumped out of the gate with a 9-0 run behind a near perfect 9-for-10 shooting, and by the end of the first quarter, the Trojans were in a 22-10 jam.

Brayden Vogt scored a team-high 14 points all in the first half, including four threes, to keep Hillsboro in the game.

The Wildcats would lead as many as 14 twice in the second quarter until Vogt buried a three to help trim the Trojans’ deficit to 30-24 at half behind a 9-1 run and holding Moundridge scoreless the final 2:38 of the half.

Hillsboro trailed as many as eight in the third quarter before Joe Knoll fueled a 10-2 run with a pair of threes for its first lead of the game—33-32—with just under 3:00 left.

That was the final field goal the Trojans got to fall the remainder of the quarter, though, and Moundridge resumed control heading into the final stretch, 40-36.

Preston Loewen added 11 points with two huge threes, one helping the Trojans knot the game at 40 along with a free throw from Darian Ratzlaff with 5:35 left.

The Wildcats would tie once more, but Loewen sank his second three with 3:52 to go, putting Moundridge in a hole too deep to get out of, 45-42.

Moundridge had a chance to force overtime in the waning seconds, however, Lantonio Unruh’s three-point attempt bounced harmlessly off the left of the rim.

On tap for the Trojans this week is a Thursday night game in Hillsboro against SE-Saline.

Girls

With Christmas just around the corner, don’t be surprised if consistency isn’t near the top of the Lady Trojans’ and coach Nathan Hiebert’s list.

The Trojans have shown signs of putting together a good game, taming the Lady Lions and toppling the Inman Teutons to set up a battle for first with Moundridge.

At the same time, Hillsboro’s struggled drastically just taking care of the ball, much less scoring.

Unfortunately, Friday’s game proved to be another showcase of the latter with the Lady Wildcats sinking the Trojans, 42-24, much in part due to Hillsboro going over two quarters without a field goal.

The loss snapped Hillsboro’s two-game winning streak leaving them at 2-2.

“It’s a lot of mental toughness and focus,” a baffled Hiebert said. “We’re going to have to get stronger. If we’re going to be successful, we’ve got to improve our crispness of our game and the strength of our game.

“We got two wins out of the tournament, I’d have liked to win all three, we had opportunities to win all three, but I’m glad we came out with a winning record.”

Hillsboro stuck right with the perimeter-minded Wildcats the first half and leading most of the first quarter.

Lexi Lorimor changed all that, canning a three just before the end of the first quarter to put Moundridge in front 12-11.

The Trojans’ struggles offensively struck the second quarter, going scoreless for 4:30.

Still, Moundridge, despite all its three point shots, only had a 17-11 lead before Abby Sechrist scored the Trojans’ first basket.

Despite shooting a cool 5-for-16 from the floor, the Trojans were hot on Moundridge’s tail by halftime, 21-18.

That 31 percent was good compared to the 1-for-14 the second half—under 20 percent overall—and Hillsboro went the entire third quarter scoreless.

By the time Sechrist finally scored Hillsboro’s first field goal of the second half with 40 remaining—a span of 17:30, the game had long been decided.

Last modified Dec. 15, 2016

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