Written by by Brian Huxman Tuesday, 01 February 2000 18:00The Hillsboro girls’ basketball team went into the Southeast of Saline Invitational tournament as the The Hillsboro girls’ basketball team went into the Southeast of Saline Invitational tournament as the top seed simply because of their record. But it was a tall order to ask of the hometown Class 3A team. Hillsboro took on Class 4A, 5A and 6A schools on consecutive nights, facing Class 6A Junction City for the championship Friday. Despite a gallant effort, the Trojans fell short against the taller Junction City team, losing 57-49. “We could not match up with that team physically,” coach Becky Carlson said. “If the game had been called different, closer in the post, we may have had a chance, but they were just too big and so strong.” Junction City’s front-line of 6-2 and 6-1 was too much for Hillsboro. The opponents dominated the boards and took advantage of inside opportunities, building a 12-point lead in the third quarter at 50-38. But the Trojans would not quit. Angela Kroeker, who had been struggling offensively the past few games, broke out of her shooting slump with 23 points to kept Hillsboro close. Her physical play inside matched the intensity of her larger opponent. Trailing by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, Kroeker took charge, leading Hillsboro back into contention with a bucket at 5:35, cutting the lead to 44-35. Hillsboro would get no closer, however. The Trojans had a lot of opportunities—but they also had a lot of turnovers. And they hit just seven of 19 free throws. “Their pressure defense bothered us late in that game,” Carlson said. “We really didn’t execute our offense that well, and a lot of that had to do with their quickness on defense.” Kroeker got the Trojans off to a good start, scoring five points in the first quarter. Hillsboro trailed by two, 11-9. But Junction City asserted its size and quickness on the press in the second quarter, extending their lead to as many as 10 points. Point guard Jill Hein, slowed by illness, led the Hillsboro offense anyway and kept The Trojans close for most of the game. Hein ended the contest with eight points and seven rebounds, but also led the team with eight turnovers. Hillsboro had 17 turnovers in the game. Salina South—In the tournament semifinals, Jill Hein put together a solid performance, and Hillsboro had just enough gas in the tank to defeat Salina South, 50-45. The Trojans led by just a point after one quarter, but used a strong second quarter to extend its lead to 24-15 at halftime. But the 5A school from Salina came right back, and Hillsboro had to use its quickness against the much taller opponent to maintain the lead in the second half. Freshman Betsy Wilson was the star in the first half for Salina South, scoring 11 of her team’s 15 points. Angela Kroeker led Hillsboro with 14 points, while Heather Matz added nine and Angela Herzet eight. Hein scored 10 points and pulled in nine rebounds. Ellsworth—The top-seeded Trojans had little trouble with opening-round opponent Ellsworth, easily defeating the eight-seed, 60-26, in one of the final games with the 30-point rule still in effect. Angela Kroeker led Hillsboro with 14 points and Hein had 10 again for Hillsboro. The Trojans led 31-13 at halftime and were never threatened in the game.