Hillsboro girls tumbled in the team’s home tournament title game againstRiley County, 36-25.
History hasn’t been kind to the Trojans when opponents build a double-digit lead, which made the Falcons’ 19-5 lead the break an ominous sign for Hillsboro.
Jessica Saunders sank one of two free throws to give Hillsboro a 5-3 lead 6:01 into the game, but it was Hillsboro’s final point of the half. The Falcons’ 15-0 run put the game out of reach early the Trojan offense struggling to get in gear.
Trojans shot 11% from the floor the first half, and 22% overall, but Riley County wasn’t red hot, either, hitting 33 percent overall. Teegan Werth was the only one who could get on track for Hillsboro, scoring a game-high 13 points, with four other Trojans combining for a sparse 12 points.
“We pulled out to a quick lead, but then went into a major drought. We didn’t score for about 12-14 minutes,” Nathan Hiebert said. “We lacked movement and were settling for jump
“Thankfully our defense did a nice job to keep us close. It was a parody of how the girls executed our halftime adjustments. We came out and won the third quarter. Teegan was able to find some openings and we had much better movement against their zone.”
Protecting their leads has been easier said than done so far this year, for Hillsboro boys though, and rough shooting has been a culprit in most losses.
The fifth-ranked Falcons gave the boys problems, overtaking the Trojans in the closing minutes of the first half to steal a 50-44 win for third place.
The Trojans maintained the lead for much of the first half, stretching it as far as 10 on a basket by Matthew Potucek with just over five seconds left in the first half. Outside Potucek and his brother, Caleb, who finished with a game-high 15 points to combine for 25, the Trojans didn’t get much support besides Brekyn Ratzlaff and Tristan Reed, who combined for 13 points.
The Falcons dominated Hillsboro rebounding 34-22, including 30-16 defensively, holding the Trojans to one shot and out and 31% shooting.
Matthew’s three with 3:13 left in the first half made it a 25-20 game, but the Falcons finally captured the lead by halftime, 27-25, with a 7-0 run. Hillsboro never got over the hill again, spending the entire second half in the Falcons’ rear view mirror, much in part to Riley County’s 53% shooting the second half and 51 on the night.
“We lost to good teams, but we didn’t shoot well, and gave up way too many offensive rebounds,” a sullen Trojan coach Darrel Knoll said. “We’ll learn from it, though, and continue to get better.”
Trojans split Monday games
Hillsboro basketball teams split a pair of games Monday night at Halstead, making up the Jan. 10 game canceled due to weather.
The boys snapped a two-game skid, dominating Halstead in a 57-35 waltz.
The heartbreaker came from the girls, who blew an 18-9 halftime lead while holding the second-ranked Dragons to a frozen 2-for-23 shooting the first half.
But 21 turnovers, combined with a gruesome 18% the second half, were too much for the Trojans, dropping a 29-27 gut-wrencher. The split leaves both teams at 8-5 on the year.
Hillsboro wraps up the week Friday, traveling to Sterling.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2020