Smoky Valley trips Trojan boys, 48-33
For the first 16 minutes of the game Friday night in Lindsborg, the Trojan boys basketball team had Smoky Valley on the ropes.
Even after the Vikings opened with an 8-0 run in the first 3:45 of the game, the Trojans were able to grab a 20-17 lead by halftime.
While Hillsboro was able to get its engine running the first half, it couldn’t stay the second, with the Vikings using an 18-7 third quarter to help hand the Trojans a 48-33 loss.
The loss dropped Hillsboro to 9-8 on the year and snapped its unbeaten Central Kansas League record at 4-1.
“The second half was the difference. I thought we were really physical inside and did a good job making it tough on them and we cleaned up the boards,” Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “Then we got outran.
“I thought we competed really hard tonight, but the second half, for whatever reason, we turned the ball over. We didn’t attack the basket like we were and for some reason, we couldn’t get back up tonight.”
With sole possession of frontrunner in the CKL on the line, Hillsboro looked like it could take down the Vikings despite the slow start and having played less than 24 hours earlier.
The Vikings hit five of their first six shots while the Trojans couldn’t get on the board until Jesse Allen scored with 4:13 left in the first quarter.
The Trojans cut the lead to 12-8 to start the second quarter before Wayd Thomas pushed the lead to 15-10 at the 5:47 mark.
Smoky Valley hit a four-minute lapse and 3s by Brett Weinbrenner and Christian Ratzlaff helped Hillsboro take an 18-15 lead with just over three minutes to go in the first half on an 8-0 run.
Caleb Hilliard’s fast break with 44 seconds remaining sent Hillsboro in at the half with the 20-17 lead, shooting 41 percent from the floor.
The Trojans’ motor started sputtering the second half and Stephen DeWitt’s basket regained the lead for the Vikings, 23-22, nearly 2:30 in.
The lead changed hands three more times and the score was tied once.
Six consecutive Hillsboro possessions ended in turnovers and the Vikings cashed in 10 points to leave the Trojans in the dust, shooting a near-flawless 7-for-9 from the floor.
Before the flurry was over for the Trojans, they’d gone nearly six minutes without a basket and Smoky Valley used a 21-7 run to take a 40-27 lead with 6:38 to go.
Bebermeyer ended the lapse with a basket about two minutes into the fourth quarter to climb as close as 11 in the remainder of the game.
Bebermeyer and Weinbrenner combined for 16 points with a team-high 8 each while Thomas scored a game-high 15.
“Offensively, we didn’t move the ball the second half like we did the first half,” Knoll said. “That led to easy baskets for them and that was the difference in the game.
“Smoky’s a great team. They’re physical inside and they’re good shooters. We’re getting outscored the first and third quarters and we’re having to dig our way out of it. We can’t against a team like Smoky, they’re too good.”
The Trojans face a two-game home stand this week, hosting Halstead Tuesday before closing out Friday against the Kingman Eagles in a 7:30 p.m. start.
Hillsboro was able to avenge its Dec. 17 loss at Sterling Thursday night at home, whipping the Black Bears, 60-39.
The Trojans, behind a combined 31 points from the freshman duo of Weinbrenner and Ratzlaff, turned a 12-7 first quarter deficit into a 27-19 halftime lead.
Hillsboro got a 25-9 edge in scoring from its bench and hit 47 percent from outside to help preserve the win.
Even with the physical play of the Black Bears, the Trojans also outscored Sterling inside, 18-12, and took advantage of 19 turnovers for 20 points.