The final shot Friday night by the Hillsboro’s boys came with about six seconds to go, and when the basketball bounced off the side of the backboard toward Hesston senior Ryan Schadler at about the three-point line, he leaped high into the air to snag it.
For a moment he thought about throwing up a long shot to beat the buzzer, but as he fell forward, he glanced at the clock and knew he had time.
He threw a pass to teammate Grant Raleigh, who made the game-winning lay-up a breath before the buzzer sounded.
Hesston’s perfect season was saved as the Swathers beat rival Hillsboro 45-43 to improve to 16-0.
“I couldn’t breathe,” said Schadler, who had 11 points. “I was so excited. I was going crazy. I went and tackled him. It was a good win. I’d never been in a game like that, especially in this environment. It’s one of the best rivalries in the state.”
Raleigh gets the glory for making the game-winning shot, but he handed all the praise to Schadler.
“He made the play,” Raleigh said. “I just shot a lay-up. It was a sweet rebound and pass to me. I just shot the lay-up.”
As for beating Hillsboro, well that just made it even more sweet.
“That’s been our rival since I was a little kid,” Raleigh said. “It was a really close game, two good teams. To pull it out like that, it’s something you never really get to experience.”
Hesston, which opened the game with a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes, trailed Hillsboro 32-27 late in the third. Hillsboro’s Brett Weinbrenner hit four straight shots in the third to give the Trojans (14-3) their first lead. He finished with 15 points.
But it was a Christian Ratzlaff three — he had a game-high 17 points and hit 3 of 5 from three-point range — that put Hillsboro up 43-41 with 1:25 to go.
With the score tied at 43, Hillsboro had the ball from the 1:07 mark until Weinbrenner took the Trojans’ final shot.
“I think he was playing for the win,” Hillsboro coach Darrel Knoll said. “I think he thought there was less time on the clock than there was. We were playing real hard. It’s loud, he was playing for the win. You’ve got to give it to him for that.”
When Schadler got the rebound, only about three seconds remained.
“Dumb coach was pretty close to calling a timeout when Ryan got a hold of the ball there,” said Hesston coach Greg Raleigh as he shook his head. “(Then) I saw Grant go. You’ve got to love one like that.”
Hesston: Raleigh 8, Schadler 11, McKinney 13, McCartney 13.
Hillsboro: Weinbrenner 15, Ratzlaff 17, Allen 3, Ollenburger 6, Franz 2.
Hesston girls 47, Hillsboro 28 — Hesston’s inside game is formidable with Caylee Richardson (6-foot junior), Kelsey Unruh (6-0 junior) and Cami Richardson (5-10 sophomore). And the Swathers utilized that inside game by outrebounding Hillsboro 36-20.
“The first time we played them, they really took it to us physically,” said Hesston coach Matt Richardson, whose team is 15-1. “Even though we had the size advantage, they were much stronger, they were much more physical, they brought it to us. I thought it was a personal challenge for the girls.”
Hillsboro had a 13-12 lead after a three by Alex Ratzlaff early in the second period, but Hesston outscored the Trojans 14-3 the rest of the quarter.
Caylee Richardson had 12 points, 10 rebounds, while Cami Richardson had seven points, seven rebounds and Unruh finished with nine points, five rebounds and two blocks.
“Inside on offense, we were able to get the lob passes by moving them around and spreading them out,” Caylee Richardson said. “ Everybody wants that good shot. It’s either a kickout or it’s something really good inside, and it just makes it easy.”
Hillsboro’s Addie Lackey had a team-high 15 points, while Danae Bina added nine.
Hesston: Cami Richardson 7, Cay. Richardson 12, Unruh 9, Jost 6, Schmitt 8, Nebel 5.
Hillsboro: Lackey 15, Bina 9, Ratzlaff 3, Heinrichs 1.
Hesston guard Grant Raleigh
Hesston senior Ryan Schadler talks basketball, football and track
Hesston boys coach Greg Raleigh