The last time the Hillsboro High School Trojan boys basketball team was seen, they lost, 47-33, in the title game Jan. 22 of the Trojan Classic against the Hesston Swathers.
With inclement weather cancelling the Feb. 1 rematch in Hesston, as well as classes, Hillsboro hadn’t played a game since.
However, the Trojans showed no signs of being rusty Friday night in Hillsboro against the Lyons Lions, who had defeated the Trojans on Jan. 11 in Lyons.
The Trojans (8-6, 3-0 in the Central Kansas League) took command of the game from the start to take the three-game regular season series against Lyons with an easy 63-42 win.
“We played really hard all night,” Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “There were a couple of stints we got in where we didn’t move our feet quite as well and we got some fouls, but the effort was there all night.
“The one thing we did better today (than in the previous game) was we attacked the basket. The last time we played them, we shot maybe 20 percent from the field. We ran the floor hard tonight.”
Not only that, but the Trojans, who’ve struggled to find offensive consistency, put up a season-high 63 points and used their quickness to get easy baskets in transition.
Still, the Trojans’ shooting didn’t heat up much more — they finished the night hitting 20-of-61 for 33 percent.
Nevertheless, Hillsboro got out of the gate fast, opening with an 8-0 run while forcing five Lyons turnovers in the first 4 minutes.
Thanks to a stifling Trojan defense, Lyons was limited to a mere six shots the first quarter, and was never any closer than 4 points through the first quarter as Hillsboro took a 13-6 lead into the second quarter.
A free throw by Ben Bebermeyer with 3:52 left in the first half and a basket by Tyrell Thiessen three minutes later, helped make Hillsboro’s largest lead of 9 points in the first half.
Hillsboro could only muster 3-for-13 shooting in the second quarter and a cool 31 percent in the first half, but they had 16 more shots than Lyons.
Taylor Carlson’s shot at the buzzer helped pull the Lions to within 7, 23-16, at the break with Lyons shooting 7-of-16 from the floor, but with 12 turnovers.
The Trojans hit the accelerator to start the second half, speeding off for a 12-0 run to forge a commanding 35-16 lead before the Lions finally ended a four-minutes scoring lapse.
Lyons rallied to outscore the Trojans, 7-5, in the final four minutes of the third quarter, but Hillsboro had control of the game heading down the final stretch, up 40-23.
The Lions never jeopardized Hillsboro’s lead in the fourth quarter and the Trojans sailed smoothly to the finish behind a balanced scoring attack.
Jarod Hamm came off the bench to score a team-high 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, and Caleb Hilliard added 10 more points as Hillsboro had six players finish with 7 points or more.
Despite the Lyons team shooting 50 percent from the floor in the second half — 47 percent for the game — Hillsboro had 25 more shots than the Lions, eight 3-pointers, and forced 22 turnovers for 24 points.
“We were more patient today and we got ourselves to the line a lot more,” Knoll said. “I was a little concerned about the week layoff; we actually had a longer layoff than we had over the Christmas break. We played a lot of guys tonight and they played hard.”
The Trojans gear up for a grueling week, which began Monday with a makeup game against Hesston.
On Tuesday, Hillsboro faced the upstart Sterling Black Bears before traveling to face the Smoky Valley Vikings Friday in Lindsborg. Friday’s game time is scheduled for around 7:30 p.m.