Collegiate uses depth to trip Trojans
By RYAN RICHTER
There's no shame in losing to the top-ranked team in the state, but Hillsboro High School boys' basketball team would have liked a different outcome Tuesday in front of the home crowd.
Wichita Collegiate brought all of its players back from last year's state championship team to Hillsboro for a league clash.
While the Trojans had their last two games postponed due to bad weather, the Spartans have been able to cope with the invincible Old Man Winter.
That's a good reason why Collegiate was a step quicker Tuesday night in Hillsboro with the Spartans (5-0) keeping their perfect record intact with a 62-43 victory.
"We're a lot better than we were against Cheney," Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. "We competed hard, we cut the lead down a couple of times, but we just turned it over too much and I think most of that was due to fatigue."
Hillsboro showed no signs of being tuckered out early despite Spartan coach Mitch Fiegel being able to go at least 10 players deep into his rotation, and get production with his son Cole, scoring a game-high 21 points.
Blake Jablonski came off the bench to score 11, hitting three of five threes.
The Trojans never led, but stayed within a basket of overtaking the Spartans three times in the first quarter.
The game started slipping away in the second quarter, with Andrew Hourani sparking an 8-0 run to build a 20-12 Collegiate lead before Hillsboro scored nearly two minutes, 30 seconds in.
It also didn't help that the Trojans were just 2-9 from the free-throw line.
Collegiate's half-court defense forced 19 steals and 23 turnovers, leading to points in transition off fast breaks.
That lead would grow to 32-18 until Clay Shewey flushed one of his three triples to slice the deficit to 32-21 by halftime.
Shewey finished with a team-high 18 points, shooting an impressive 7-8 from the foul line and pacing all scorers at halftime with 10.
"I thought we played them really well other than some turnovers," said Knoll. "We were a little hesitant against their press early, but once we figured out how to break it, we got a little more confidence."
Gavin Serene had the hot hand in the second half, scoring eight straight points in a little more than a minute to get the Trojans within 49-33 during a 10-0 flurry.
Hillsboro didn't have the legs to keep up with the Spartans, who forced the Trojans into many rushed shots, holding them to 12-31 from the floor and 5-14 from outside.
"I'm pleased with the improvement we've had since the beginning of the year," Knoll said.
"I think we're heading in the right direction."
Hillsboro wraps up 2007 Friday, playing host to Halstead for the Dec. 13 make-up game with tip-off time set for 8 p.m.