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Trojans shake off slow start to defeat Lyons

Hillsboro boys finish 2-1 at Moundridge

Hillsboro High School Trojans boys’ basketball coach Darrel Knoll is a firm believer in the phrase “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

His team seemed to get the message Friday night in the final game of the Moundridge Tournament against a feisty Lyons Lions team at Moundridge.

Despite missing their first seven shots of the game and suffering a sluggish start, the Trojans were able to dig down deep and knock off the Lions, 48-34.

Three games into the year, Hillsboro has already matched its win total of a year ago with a record of 2-1.

The Trojans opened the season at home Dec. 7 with a heartbreaking double-overtime 64-57 loss to the Garden Plain Owls. They bounced back Thursday to upend Trey Unrau and Moundridge, 51-46.

“I thought we were really sluggish to start,” Knoll said Friday. “The guys who played really hard last night seemed to have a hard time finding the rhythm tonight.

“Once we played through the adversity, I kept telling them in timeouts we can’t be worried about things not going our way, we’ve got to continue to play. Dig down deep when it gets tough.”

The Trojans shot 3-for-11 in the first quarter, but even with the poor start Hillsboro had, Lyons couldn’t capitalize on it.

By the time Hillsboro finally got on the board about 3 minutes, 30 seconds into the game, the Lions were only up 4-0.

Showing signs of both emotional and physical fatigue from their hard-fought win over Moundridge, the Trojans needed a big boost off the bench from Jarod Hamm, Aaron Klassen, Luke Moore, and Tyrell Thiessen — and they got it.

Hamm dropped 10 points on the Lions while freshman Brett Weinbrenner scored a team-high 13.

Hamm’s 3-pointer — Hillsboro’s first basket — brought the Trojans within 1 through the first 20 minutes of the game.

The Lions used their size advantage to get easy baskets inside and help push their lead to 15-6 in the first quarter.

Lyons’ engine started sputtering the second quarter, as they hit a lapse, which lasted the first 4 minutes.

Another 3-point play by Hamm with 3:39 left in the first half knotted the game at 16. He pushed Hillsboro over the hill on the next possession, flushing another 3.

After opening the game hitting a scorching 5-of-7 from the floor, Lyons stumbled through the second and third quarters making a modest 5-for-18 and 36 percent overall.

The Trojans went on to outscore Lyons and take a 28-21 lead at the half. Hillsboro’s defense kept the Lions in low gear the second half, limiting them to a modest 13 points.

Lyons hit another scoring lapse and a Weinbrenner free throw with 1:23 left in the third quarter gave the Trojans their largest lead of the game up to that point, 36-25.

The game continued to unravel on Lyons in the fourth quarter, the Lions committing five turnovers while only making 7 points.

The Trojans used free throws to widen the margin to 15 before Jesse Allen put the finishing touches on the game with 26 seconds to go, making 1-of-2 at the line.

“The best part that I’ve seen about this team is that when somebody’s struggling, it seems like we’ve been able to get somebody in off the bench to make a difference,” Knoll said. “Jarod didn’t get a lot of minutes last night (Thursday) and today, he came out, competed hard, and played to earn his spot. I was so happy for him. He played to win.”

The Trojans defeated/ lost to the Smoky Valley Vikings, xx-xx, Tuesday in Hillsboro. The Trojans will travel Friday to take on the Sterling Black Bears.

Friday’s game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Last modified Dec. 16, 2010

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