Swathers' second half spells catastrophe for Trojans
By RYAN RICHTER
Being in the high school game 20 glorious seasons and achieving success, Hillsboro High School boys' basketball coach Darrel Knoll probably knows a strong finish usually brings better results than a good start.
He and the Trojans got a good example of that Friday, playing host to one of Class 4A's premier teams, the Hesston Swathers.
For 16 minutes Hillsboro had the bulkier, stronger, and more physical Swathers on the ropes, trailing just 28-26 at halftime, and shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor.
Sadly for the Trojans, games often are decided in the second half.
Such was the case with Hillsboro (4-1 MCAA, 8-6 overall) going ice cold from the floor and falling 51-40 to the Swathers (11-1, 5-0 MCAA).
The Trojans had a two-point lead after the first quarter, 13-11, with Daniel Jost and David Loewen able to finish inside against Hesston's physical play for high percentage shots.
Jost and Loewen combined for 24 points with Jost scoring a game-high 14.
Hesston also was able to take advantage of its inside game, knocking down 12-of-24 shots the first half.
What went from bad to miserable came in the fourth quarter with the game on the line and Hillsboro fatigued, trying to fight its way over a 41-33 mountain.
The Trojans couldn't buy a basket, going much of the quarter without a field goal and shooting a bitter 5-for-20 from the floor.
What's worse yet was the fact the Swathers were holding Hillsboro to one shot each trip down by dominating the glass and out-rebounding the Trojans, 32-19.
The Swathers shot only 38 percent the second half, but they were able to get a 10-2 boost from second-chance opportunities.
Hesston was able to neutralize one of the Trojans' other main weapons, Clay Shewey, holding him to nine points on 3-for-10 shooting and just two three-pointers.
After a daunting game Tuesday at Wichita Collegiate against the third-ranked Spartans, the Trojans' road could get easier Friday when they travel to Sterling for an 8 p.m. tip.
The Trojans got a road victory Jan. 29, Tuesday whipping the Haven Wildcats, 66-49.
Jost was a one-man wrecking crew, lighting the Wildcats up for a game and career-high 27 points, including 5-for-6 from three-point land.
Shewey chipped in 13 points, including a trio of threes, and Gavin Serene supplied 12 points while pulling down seven rebounds.