Boys win, girls tumble to Halstead
Fresh into the 2019 first half of the basketball season, the new year got off to a good start at Hillsboro Friday.
At least it is for Trojan boys’ coach Darrel Knoll, whose team put a 67-49 beating on the visiting defending Class 3A champion Halstead Dragons, boosting their record to 4-3.
While Knoll may have gotten the boys on track, girls’ coach Nathan Hiebert’s still looking for answers on how to put together a complete game.
The top-5 Dragons weren’t the team to try finding them against with Halstead rolling to an easy 52-26 win.
The setback drops Hillsboro to 2-5 on the year with a vicious road trip Friday on tap at top-5 Haven.
It would be difficult to find a better start than what the Trojans got against the Dragons this year.
With Halstead spending most of the first quarter trying to get the lid off its basket, Hillsboro sprinted out of the gate for a 12-5 lead to start the second.
The Dragons finally got the lid off the second quarter, pulling as close as 12-10 in the first 1:50, but the Trojans neither relinquished the lead, nor let Halstead any closer.
“It was a scary game,” Knoll said. “We’ve had good practices over the break, and we’re moving the ball a lot better. We’re much more active defensively than what we were earlier.
“I was really proud of the guys, it’s a great team win against a really good team. We got them tonight, but we’re going to have to be ready next time we play them there.”
Outside surrendering a game-high 25 points from Braden Gerber on 8-for-21 shooting, the Trojan defense frustrated the Dragons all night, limiting them to a modest 33 percent shooting and forcing 22 turnovers.
With all other weapons neutralized, Gerber basically had to go at it alone with Hillsboro’s bench outscoring Halstead 25-2.
Behind a game-high double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds from Wes Shaw, the Trojans crushed the Dragons on the backboards, too, 43-25, while pushing the lead to 28-17 by halftime.
The Trojans’ 20 offensive rebounds made for high percentage shots inside, and Hillsboro took advantage for 49 percent on the night and a blistering 58 the second half.
Darian Ratzlaff pitched in 11 points while dishing out a game-high 4 assists in the win.
The biggest threat the Dragons posed the remainder of the game came in the fourth quarter with Halstead pulling to 49-43 with just under 6:00 left.
Hillsboro caught fire after that, outscoring the Dragons 16-6 in the closing 5:48 to preserve the win.
The same old tune the Trojans ended 2018 listening to is still playing, much to their chagrin.
A gruesome 1-for-23 shooting the second and fourth quarters and 17 percent on the night kept it playing.
That came after Hillsboro actually erased a Halstead lead as many as 10 to 15-14 with 1:37 to go in the first quarter.
It only got worse for the Trojans after that, both in falling behind and mentally.
“Halstead is a very talented team, young but very talented,” a befuddled Hiebert said. “I felt like we had a really good stretch in the first quarter that we exceeded their intensity and really played with passion and heart.
“Unfortunately for most of the game, we didn’t play with a lot of purpose. When you play good teams, you have to play with a purpose both offensively and defensively. We didn’t do that consistently as a team and that hurt us.”
‘Consistency’ has been no friend of the Trojans in a good way, and on Friday, the consistent enemies of ball handling and scoring proved fatal.
The Dragons’ 6-2 sophomore Karenna Gerber combined with Josephine Engel and Madelief Bracht to do 42 points worth of damage with Gerber’s game-high 17.
Engel’s game-high 11 rebounds were instrumental in dominating the rebounds, 44-27, with 19 offensively.
Hot on the Dragons’ tail after the first quarter, trailing 19-14, the Trojans went without a field goal the entire second quarter to trail at the break, 30-17.
Hillsboro slowed down Gerber the second half, limiting her to 4 points, but 18 percent shooting and three field goals the second half thwarted the Trojans from ever threatening.
That was even with Hillsboro forcing 22 turnovers and the Dragons suffering through an 18 percent third quarter themselves for 36 for the game.
Teegan Werth’s 10 points paced the Trojans’ scoring with Tuesday Weisbeck adding 7 while pulling down a team-high 5 rebounds.
Last modified Jan. 10, 2019