Lions roar past Trojans for ticket to state
By RYAN RICHTER
Dismantling the downtrodden Lyons Lions 67-42 Feb. 19 in Hillsboro might have given the Trojans reason to believe they could beat them again.
However, Saturday's sub-state championship game on Hillsboro's home court was a different story.
The Lyons ended up coming out on top, 67-51.
Lyons barely got past Sedgwick Thursday in the semifinal game, 52-51, and came into the tournament as the sixth seed with a 10-12 record.
Trojans standout Clay Shewey lit the Lions up in the first game, dropping five threes for a game-high 23 points.
At a time when Hillsboro needed the 6-3 hotshot most, Shewey, nor any of the Trojans, could deliver, as the standout junior was held to just eight points and 0-for-7 from outside.
The Lions overcame an atrocious first quarter to shock and knock out the Trojans with the upset.
Red-hot Lyons advances to Class 3A's state tournament with an 11-12 record, while Hillsboro finishes the year at 13-10.
Eighth-seeded Lyons will face top-seeded Nemaha Valley Wednesday (today) in the opening round at Hutchinson.
"We just struggled to shoot the ball tonight. Clay didn't make a shot all night," Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. "We just didn't get it done, it was one of those games where everybody struggled to score early and we never came out of it."
Lyons struggled in the first quarter as well.
Hillsboro hung on to an early 6-5 lead, but was never able to mount a lead any larger than three.
In the first meeting, Hillsboro was on target from the floor, shooting 51 percent, but come Saturday, the Trojans managed to shoot just 35 percent on the night.
The Lions shooting only improved though as they made five of their first six shots in the second quarter, burying the Trojans.
Hillsboro's misery continued to mount when David Loewen picked up his third foul with 4:31 left in the first half, sending him to the bench for the remainder of the half.
Brennan Clark caught fire too, burning Hillsboro for a game-high 21 points, including a trio of threes, to help Lyons build a 20-16 lead at half.
Daniel Jost scored a team-high 11 points for the Trojans, pulling Hillsboro to within one at 5:16 left in the third quarter.
Shewey's best moment came with 3:42 left in the third quarter when he gave Hillsboro its first lead since the opening minute of the second quarter on a drive to the basket.
The lead never held up and Clark knocked the Trojans down for good on the next play, as the Lions were eventually able to open a six-point lead before the fourth quarter.
Loewen finished one point shy of a double-double with a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points.
Clark ignited a 9-0 run with a three-pointer that spelled disaster for Hillsboro.
Lyons put the game away at the free-throw line, knocking down 12-of-14 in the final 2:28 of the game.
Seniors Gavin Serene, who hit the game winning shot Thursday against Hutch Trinity, Mitchell Koop, and Spencer Brown wrapped up their final seasons.
"We didn't step up to the physical nature of the game tonight," Knoll said. "The guys played really hard this year and we did come a long ways.
"We're extremely disappointed with this loss, but I really appreciate the way we grew during the year. I hate to see Spencer, Gavin, and Mitchell go, I enjoyed working with them and we had a great year.
"Unfortunately it didn't turn out the way we wanted tonight."