The Hillsboro boys’ basketball team defeated Wamego 60-47 in the third-place game of the Trojan Classic on Saturday.
The game started with a bumpy first quarter for the Trojans, as they fell behind 17-9 while struggling to make layups and dealing with a physical Raiders team. The quarter ended on a high note though when the Trojans held the ball for the final shot and Christian Ratzlaff made a 3-pointer with about a second left to cut the deficit to 17-12.
Hillsboro battled back in the second quarter, tying the game at 23 on another 3-pointer by Ratzlaff and taking the lead when Brett Weinbrenner made a pair of free throws. Ratzlaff made another late 3-pointer to increase the lead to 33-27 at halftime.
Wamego made its own comeback in the third quarter, tying the game at 39 going into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Hillsboro used pressure defense, and Jesse Brown knocked the ball away from Wamego’s Eli Miller. Brown took the ball on a fast break but realized Wamego had three players to defend if he attempted a layup.
Instead, Brown pulled up and found Ratzlaff following on the secondary break and passed him the ball for a wide-open 3-pointer to lead 42-39. Wamego never again led or tied the game.
When a technical foul was called on Wamego’s bench, Weinbrenner made two free throws to extend the lead to 51-43 with 2:35 left. The other Trojans struggled with free throws down the stretch, making 3 of 7 before Micah Allen sank two with 54 seconds left to extend the lead to 56-47.
Weinbrenner sealed the victory when he stole the ball at midcourt and drove for a possible layup. He didn’t get the shot off, though, as a pair of Wamego players crashed into him from behind. One was called for a personal foul, and the other was called for an intentional foul. Weinbrenner made all four free throws to finish a perfect 8-of-8 from the line, and Hillsboro won 60-47.
Coach Darrel Knoll credited the victory to the players sticking with what they practiced even when things weren’t going their way. He also said the Trojans played better post defense as the game went on and didn’t give the Raiders open looks in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans lost to Holcomb in the tournament semifinals Friday. Holcomb took an early 11-5 lead, but Hillsboro tied it to end the first quarter at 14 with a 3-pointer by Ratzlaff.
The second quarter was very close with ties at 16, 18, 20, and 22. The largest lead for either team was Holcomb by three points. Ratzlaff again tied the game with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the half tied at 30.
Hillsboro built a 10-point lead in the third quarter, and led 48-40 at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter began with many free throw attempts by both teams. Holcomb had cut the lead to 50-46 before either team made a field goal in the quarter. The Longhorns then tied the game at 50 with 3:42 left. The teams traded baskets until Hillsboro took a timeout at 1:09, trailing by three.
Ratzlaff tied the game at 58 with a basket and free throw coming off a backdoor cut on the ensuing inbounds play. But Holcomb made another run, and Hillsboro ran out of time. The Longhorns won 66-60.