Trojans split two with Haven
Lady Trojans stumble, boys survive
The Lady Trojans’ scouting report Friday night for the host Haven Lady Wildcats was simple: Know where deadly Wildcat perimeter shooter Emmiley Hendrixson is at all times.
If Hendrixson gets hot, games have the potential of coming unraveled quickly for Wildcat opponents.
That’s exactly what happened for the Trojans, with Hendrixson erupting for 20 first-half points, including 6 threes, en route to a 37-22 win on Haven’s homecoming.
“Our scouting report said we’ve got to make sure we know where number 3 (Hendrixson) is,” Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert said. “From the film I saw, they (Haven) struggled against some zones. Those zones were away of where she was at.
“We’re digging ourselves a hole and we can’t do that. We need to be climbing instead of digging to start things off.”
The loss marks the Trojans’ fifth straight, dropping them to 3-7 overall, and 0-4 in league play.
The hole this time turned out to be an 18-4 first quarter with Hendrixson burying 5 threes while Haven’s defense limited the Trojans to a meager 1-for-7 from the field.
Hillsboro settled down a bit the second quarter, ratcheting up its defense and began attacking the basket to draw fouls.
That proved pivotal in narrowly outscoring the Wildcats 10-9 to pull within 27-14 by halftime.
Chances of gaining on the Wildcats lessened with Haven pushing its lead to 31-14 by the time Sienna Kaufman scored the Trojans’ first points of the second half just over 2:00 in.
Despite shooting 2-for-11 the third quarter, Mesa Merrell flushed a three to again cut the deficit to 13 to start the fourth.
The Trojans were able to neutralize Hendrixson the second half, limiting her to one more three and finishing with a game-high 23 points.
Sadly, Hillsboro suffered through the fourth quarter without a field goal for a ghastly 6-for-35 on the night.
Haven wasn’t much better, shooting a ragged 27 percent, but the big first quarter was enough to seal the Trojans’ fate.
It certainly won’t go down as one of the better performances of the Trojans’ season, but it’s sometimes better to win ugly than to go down playing well.
Hillsboro found itself in that predicament against the feisty Wildcats, who had the potential to deal the Trojans their second defeat of the season.
When the game was on the line, though, Hillsboro was able to overcome adversity and spoil Haven’s homecoming with a 53-48 win.
“We didn’t shoot very well tonight,” a relieved Trojans coach Darrel Knoll said. “The first half we had wide open look after wide open look and they wouldn’t go down.
“I don’t know if it was the crowd in here or the shooting background, but we struggled shooting the ball, we usually don’t have trouble with that. The best thing about tonight was we continued to play.”
Hillsboro’s survival boosts its mark to 9-1 overall, remaining unbeaten in conference play at 4-0.
Through nine victories, the Trojans’ precision perimeter shooting has been able to bail them out a good many times.
But that wasn’t available for much of the game, making for a seesaw battle the entire night.
Toss in the Wildcats’ 6-5 post presence of Aaron Yoder, who finished with a game-high 17 points, and Hillsboro had to dig down deep for the win.
The lead changed hands four times in the opening 3:00 with Yoder scoring 6 consecutive points in the first 3:30, and the Trojans went from being up 3 to trailing by 4.
Carson Herbel scored with :30 seconds left to end the first quarter with Hillsboro in front 12-11 despite a cool 2-for-9 from outside and 5-of-15 overall.
Foul trouble rankled the Trojans in the second quarter, but Darian Ratzlaff drained a pair of threes and scored on a fast break, on their way to a 26-20 lead by halftime.
Preston Loewen finished with a team-high 13 points while Ratzlaff and Herbel added 12 and 10 respectively.
The Wildcats, helped by a 3:10 scoring lapse from the Trojans, used a 12-3 run to reclaim the lead, 32-29, with 4:46 left in the third quarter.
The Trojans were able to tie two more times until Haven hit a scoring lapse of its own, this one lasting better than 3:45 to close the third quarter.
Joe Knoll sparked a 7-0 run with a basket and Wes Shaw added 4 straight points to stretch Hillsboro’s lead to 39-32.
The Wildcats stayed on the prowl, though, using another Hillsboro scoring lapse to knot the game at 42 on a put-back from Yoder with just under 4:00 remaining the game.
The Trojans, in spite of shooting 20-for-49 on the night, were able to hit 6-of-10 at the free-throw line to salt the game away the fourth quarter while holding Haven to 33 percent.
Hesston wasn’t the right matchup for the Lady Trojans to try to get on the winning track in opening round Trojans Classic play Tuesday, as the Lady Swathers ran away with a 55-21 win.
Hillsboro dug an early hole by scoring just 2 points in the first quarter, while Hesston scored 16. By halftime, the Lady Swathers had more than enough points to win, leading 32-11. Another 2-point quarter in the fourth for Hillsboro closed out the tough loss.
Hillsboro will play at 6 p.m Friday against Bennington at Tabor.
The boys started strong against Clay Center, rolling up 21 points in the first quarter en route to an easy 63-36 win.
Preston Loewen scored a game high 15 points, followed closely by Joe Knoll with 13.
Hillsboro will take on Republic County at 7 p.m. Friday in Brown Gymnasium.
Last modified Jan. 19, 2017