The Ell-Saline Cardinal boys closed out the 2020-21 season Monday night in the first round of Sub-State play losing to the #2 ranked Hillsboro Trojans 68-32.
Ell-Saline is one of the host sites for the 2A Sub-State Tournament, but had to travel to Hillsboro for their first round play because of being tabbed as the number 8 seed with their 0-20 record.
It has been a disappointing year to say the least for the Cardinals having gone winless on the season, but they never lost their fight in any game and it was no different in the season ending drubbing they took from the #2 ranked Trojans.
Hillsboro had size, length and a talented group of basketball players on the bench and they put it all on display throughout the four quarters, which included a pair of massive dunks by two different players. The Trojans jumped out to a 20-6 lead after the first stanza, based on their size inside the paint and the transition game, after forcing the Cardinals into 9 turnovers in the first quarter,13 for the first half and 24 for the game.
Ell-Saline would get some inspirational play from sophomore Kade Wilson and freshman Marshall Johnson to score the bulk of the 16 points the Cardinals had at halftime, but it was another big 2nd quarter that would see a host of Trojan players get into the scoring column to take a 36-16 advantage at intermission. Another big 3rd quarter for the Trojans propelled them to a 60-23 lead heading into the 4th and final quarter. Ell-Saline would get a trio of three pointers in the 4th quarter from three different players, showing why they are a never give up team.
The leading scorers for the Cardinals had freshman Marshall Johnson with 11, sophomore Kade Willson added 8 points and freshman Ryan Duerr chipped in 5. For the Trojans, it was a trio of players in double digits, with Brekyn Ratzlaff dropping in 16, Grayson Ratzlaff added 12 and Mathew Potucek chipped in 10.
The Cardinal loss concludes their season at 0-21, while the #2 ranked Trojans improved to 18-3 and advanced to the semi-finals on Thursday to face Moundridge or Sedgwick.