Meanwhile, the Trojan boys took a serious second-half stumble and now find their hopes for a home game in the first round of sub-state in jeopardy following a 58-35 humbling by the Wildcats.
GIRLS – Both teams had a lot on the line Friday. The Trojans came in tied with Hesston for the league lead at 6-1 and sporting a 16-2 season record, while Haven was a game back in league play at 5-2 and 15-3 overall. What’s more, both teams are assigned to the sub-state in Hillsboro later this month and were vying for the No. 1 seed.
The two teams were neck and neck in the early going, but with Hillsboro leading 9-8, Addie Lackey scored three unanswered baskets on nice drives into the lane. Danae Bina followed with a steal and a basket, and suddenly the Trojans led 17-8 as the first quarter ended.
That quarter proved to be pivotal as the two teams slipped back into a trading-baskets mode for most of the rest of the game. By halftime, the Trojans had nudged to the lead to 10 points at 28-18. Tena Loewen chipped in 10 points to pace the Trojans and Bina added eight.
Six points from Lackey and four from Loewen helped the Trojans build their largest lead of the night as the third quarter ended with a 38-25 score.
But Haven didn’t roll over. After Loewen completed a traditional three-point play at the 5:29 mark of the fourth quarter to push the lead back to 13 at 41-28, the Wildcats made a move, scoring six points while Hillsboro missed two shots and committed a pair turnovers. Suddenly the Wildcats were within seven at 41-34 with 3:20 to go and the hometown crowd was energized.
But Lackey stepped up again, this time with another penetration basket with 1:55 to play. After Haven’s top scorer, Ashley Rogers, missed the front end of a one-and-one with 1:27 to go, Loewen made one of two free throws at the other end to bump the lead to 10 at 44-34. A three by Haven’s Hailey Davis pulled the home team back to within seven, but only 33 seconds remained. Despite twice missing front-end free throws in the final 31 seconds, the Trojans held on for the seven-point win.
Loewen finished with 20 points and Lackey 14. The victory gives Hillsboro the chance to claim at least a league co-championship with a win Tuesday at Kingman, and it secures the Trojans’ position as the top seed at sub-state regardless of Tuesday’s results.
BOYS – Haven suddenly reverted to the team that started this season with nine straight wins when the Wildcats simply took over the second half of Friday’s game following a standoff first half.
The two teams came into the game with identical 11-7 season records, although the Trojans had the edge in league play, 5-2 versus 4-3. The first half was a game you might expect from such a matchup. Hillsboro got off to a 5-2 start before falling behind 12-11 on a Haven buzzer-beater basket to end the first quarter.
Hillsboro surged again to start the second quarter with a 5-2 burst. But Haven rallied again, this time using a traditional three-point play with 35 seconds remaining to give them a 27-24 lead at intermission.
Whether Hillsboro lost its moxie at halftime, or Haven simply found theirs, the Wildcats took over the game as play resumed. The home team created to a 31-11 tidal wave over the final two quarters and rode it to a comfortable victory.
Brett Weinbrenner was Hillsboro’s hot shooter in the first half with 13 points. The Wildcats shut him down in the second half and nobody stepped in to fill the void. Hillsboro made only five of 22 shots in the final two quarters and committed seven turnovers.
But this turnaround was more than an untimely streak of cold shooting. Haven out-hustled the Trojans, and physically and mentally overpowered them.
When it was over, Weinbrenner and Shaq Thiessen shared scoring honors for Hillsboro with 13 points each.
In addition to Hillsboro and Haven sporting seven losses coming into the evening, so did two other teams assigned to the Hillsboro sub-state. With Marion securing the top seed at four losses, that left the four seven-loss teams to battle for the other three opportunities to host a first-round game. With the loss at Haven, Hillsboro no longer is assured of being one of those teams, and will need some help to climb back in.