Trojans snap seven-year losing streak
No team has been a bigger nuisance for the Trojan basketball teams like the Hesston Swathers.
You’d have to go back seven years to the date to find the last time the Trojans beat the Swathers — a 47-40 win for the boys, Jan. 31, 2012.
Since then, the Swathers’ riddle has been unsolvable for both teams with the girls going eight years without a win.
The boys used a quick start and a big game from freshman Matthew Potucek to end seven years of sorrows Friday, topping the visiting Swathers, 50-39.
The girls couldn’t shake the uncanny trend of having at least one brutal quarter dashing any chance at victory, falling 53-33.
The victory boosted the boys to 10-5, while the girls dropped to 4-11.
Throughout the span of seven years, many games have slipped away from the Trojans, ending up in one-possession losses.
It looked like it could happen again in the nightcap, even after Hillsboro opened a 14-4 lead after the first quarter with Hesston going 1-for-13 from the floor.
The Trojans couldn’t keep it going, hitting a 4:36 scoring lapse that got Hesston within 21-16 before Hillsboro pushed the lead to nine by the break.
The deficit shrunk to 25-21, with the Trojans suffering through their worst quarter shooting of the night — 30 percent— before Potucek bailed them out.
Potucek scored a career-high 15 points, while Darian Ratzlaff and Wes Shaw scored 11 each.
Shaw pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds as Hillsboro edged the Swathers rebounding, 34-30.
The Trojans could only muster 16-for-23 on the night, but 7-for-13, including 6-of-6 from Potucek, kept Hesston no closer than 39-34 the fourth quarter.
“I thought we did a great job tonight of just playing team basketball,” a relieved Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “We had a couple of stints where we couldn’t score, but we played solid defense.
Scoring summary: M. Potucek, 15; Ratzlaff, 11; Shaw, 11; C. Potucek, 9; Jorge Hanschu, 3; Caleb Rempel, 1.
Friday marked the second week in a row the girls faced an opponent that’s historically had their number.
While overcoming a seven-point lead is manageable, the girls have struggled finding enough firepower to do it and keep games from turning catastrophic.
That’s why the Swathers’ 18-3 second quarter, including 12 of Elise Kaiser’s game-high 24 points, had Hillsboro’s fate sealed by halftime with a 33-11 lead.
Hesston went to its bench the third quarter as the Trojans suffered through another quarter in which they shot under 30 percent for 31 overall.
The 48-18-Swather lead made for a running clock the fourth quarter with Hillsboro’s season-high 83 percent shooting coming against Hesston’s reserves.
Kinsey Kleiner scored a team-high 13 points, including a trio of threes, and Teegan Werth added 11.
Scoring summary: Kleiner, 13; Werth, 11; Sammie Saunders 3; Jessica Saunders 2, Addie Berens 2, Tuesday Weisbeck, 2; Dani Klein, 1.