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Trojans fall to Larned, win at Smoky Valley

News editor

Leading by two after three quarters, the game slipped away from Hillsboro on Friday when its offense disappeared in the fourth, scoring just 6 points in the final period of a 43-39 loss to Larned in Hillsboro.

A 16-point second quarter gave the Trojans a 26-22 lead at the half, and they held a 33-31 edge going into the fourth quarter. But they shot only 14 percent in the final period, misfiring on 12 of 14 shots.

“I thought we had pretty poor execution the second half offensively,” head coach Darrel Knoll said. “Once they gained momentum, we never found a way to get it back.”

Hillsboro tied the score at 39 when Braden Vogt hit a 3-pointer with 1 minute, 43 seconds remaining, but missed its final three shots.

“We forced things the last two minutes,” Knoll said. “We talked in timeout that we’ve got to get a good shot, and we just didn’t. We never seemed to capitalize on things.”

Such was the case late in the second quarter when 6-foot-7 Austin Cross broke out on a fast break and slam-dunked, drawing a huge roar from the home crowd. But momentum boost turned to buzz kill when officials called a technical on Cross for hanging on the rim. Larned nailed both free throws, effectively negating the basket, and the Trojans failed to score again before halftime.

Still, the second quarter was Hillsboro’s best. The Trojans shot 60 percent from the field, while holding the Indians to 19 percent. Micah Allen, Grant Knoll, Preston Loewen, and Cross scored in the period.

“I thought the entire first half was a hard-fought game,” Knoll said. “We ran the floor well. We played hard on defense.”

The Trojans outscored the Indians from the floor, but it was a different story at the free-throw line. Larned was 10-of-13 from the line, while Hillsboro hit only four charities in eight attempts.

While the teams were nearly even in total rebounds, the Indians were stronger on the offensive glass, picking up rebounds at key moments in the game.

“The first half we played very physical and took care of business,” Knoll said. “The second half I didn’t think we were quite as tough that way and allowed them to come through us or around us to get rebounds we should have had.”

Allen led the Trojans with 11 points, and both Cross and Knoll scored 7.

Two games into the new year, Knoll said his team needs to regain its shooting touch.

“We’ve got to find ways to make shots to put the ball in the basket,” he said. “We’ve got to be more efficient offensively. We were, right before Christmas, but we’ve struggled offensively in these first two games afterward. We’ve got to get back to some timing and better shot selection.”

Smoky Valley

The Trojans got back in the win column Tuesday with a solid 52-39 win against Smoky Valley in Lindsborg.

The opening quarter was decisive for the Trojans, who scored 12 points while holding the Vikings to just two.

The teams were almost evenly matched from that point on, with Hillsboro holding leads of 25-13 at the half and 37-24 at the end of the third quarter.

The Trojans shot 36 percent from the field, and 36 percent from 3-point range.

Micah Allen led all scoreres with 23 points on 9-of-19 shooting. Josh Funk scored 8, and Preston Loewen scored 7.

Last modified Jan. 15, 2015

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