Trojans defeat Marion
By RYAN RICHTER
Eight days removed from suffering just their third loss to the Marion Warriors in 15 years, Hillsboro High School boys' basketball team found itself in familiar territory Friday playing at home again against the Warriors.
Instead of coming up on the short end this time, Hillsboro (7-5, 3-0 MCAA) was able to hit 18-of-22 attempts in the second half to claw out a 57-44 victory against the Warriors.
"We made our free throws and that was big," Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. "We took better shots the second half and we made fewer mistakes. I think we picked up our game a little bit and we were a little sharper.
"We were dead on our feet last week and they (Warriors) played well at the end of that game. They executed well at the end and we didn't."
The Trojans didn't have much problem getting a start, opening up a four-point lead within the game's first four minutes on a basket by David Loewen.
MHS was always able to stay in Hillsboro's rear-view mirror the first half, using six straight points to jump ahead 11-7 with just less than a minute left in the first quarter.
Loewen burned the Warriors for a game-high 19 points — 11 in the first half — on 6-for-8 from the floor, and sinking a perfect 7-for-7 at the free-throw line, while hauling in a team-high nine rebounds.
Loewen scored nine consecutive points in the closing six minutes of the first half, twice equaling the Trojans' largest lead of four points.
The Warriors knotted the game at 21 by the break, outscoring Hillsboro 6-2 in the first half's waning minutes.
Clay Shewey got involved the second half, getting eight of his 18 points in the first three minutes of the second half, pushing Hillsboro as far ahead as five before the Warriors got back to within a point twice.
The game started slipping away from Marion at the end of the third quarter, as the Warriors went more than five minutes without a field goal, and shot a woeful 27 percent the second half.
The Trojans, who shot 62 percent from the field in the second half, and 44 on the night, only made one field goal in the final 5:55 of the game.
That came from Daniel Jost, who added 12 points but the Trojans scored 13 of their 16 points off free throws to seal the game.
"[In] the first half every time we got a lead we'd turn the ball right back over and let them right back into it," Knoll said. "I thought we withstood those runs a little better the second half than the first.
"Tonight we executed a lot better and managed our time down the stretch. We slowed them down on free throws so they couldn't get their transition game going. Little things like that really helped us out."
The Trojans traveled to Haven Tuesday and face one of Class 4A's premier teams Friday when the Hesston Swathers are in town for an 8 p.m. tip.