The Hillsboro boys’ basketball team responded to the senior night crowd with what head coach Darrel Knoll described as the best energy of the season in a 46-19 victory over Halstead on Tuesday in Hillsboro.
“It was a big motivational thing for us,” Senior Shaq Thiessen said.
The Trojans jumped out to a 16-4 lead, built on strong defense crashing down on Halstead penetration, and leaping out at Dragon shooters. Long rebounds and turnovers transformed into transition baskets throughout the game. The Trojans extended that lead to 35-10 by halftime.
The most active Hillsboro defender was senior guard Jesse Brown. Brown’s man-to-man defense was stifling, creating two steals and a turnover in the first half.
Senior forward Harry Faber played well on both ends of the floor. He had seven points with a four rebounds, two steals and a block.
Brown, Faber, and Evan Ollenburger have been the players that have stepped up the most since senior Tyler Proffitt quit the team before the game against Smoky Valley on Feb. 5. Ollenburger had threeassists and two rebounds on Tuesday.
“I’m not going to say we don’t miss him. He’s a good player and good athlete,” Thiessen said. “But we’ve learned to deal with it.”
Thiessen was the top scorer for Hillsboro with 17 points. He also had four rebounds, three blocks, and two steals.
It is ironic that Thiessen was the leading scorer because the offense has functioned much better over the past five games with point guard Brett Weinbrenner being the primary ball handler and scorer. The first quarter scoring was mainly a product of Weinbrenner either spotting up after short drives or kicking to open shooters. Weinbrenner had 11 points, four assists, and three rebounds in the game.
“We’ve moved the ball well tonight,” Knoll said.
Throughout much of the season, the scoring duties for the Trojans have been evenly split between Thiessen and Weinbrenner. Thiessen said the recent difference in playing style has been difficult but he understands that Weinbrenner driving more is what is best for the team.
“He is our best penetrator,” Thiessen said.