The Hillsboro girls achieved another preseason goal Friday by knocking off defending league champion Pratt, 48-37, to remain undefeated for the season at 8-0. The Greenbacks dropped to 4-2.
In a game of momentum swings, the Trojans trailed the home team after one quarter 8-5, then by as much as 12-5 after the first 1:30 of the second period, thanks to 2-for-14 shooting from the field and six turnovers.
But Addie Lackey’s three-pointer from the wing at the 6:15 mark ignited a 17-2 run that carried HHS to a 22-14 lead at intermission. Five Trojans contributed points during the surge.
“We finally started doing what we had been talking about the last two days,” coach Nathan Hiebert said of his team’s turnaround. “We talked about having good ball movement and not trying to throw it over (6-foot-2 Aubrey) Hoover. Sometimes we threw it to her like she was our own teammate.”
Hillsboro continued its roll with an 11-2 start to the third quarter, hitting five of six shots while forcing five Pratt turnovers and holding the Greenbacks to 1-for-7 shooting through the first 5:30.
By the end of the period, HHS?led 39-20. Callie Serene scored seven of her team-high 15 points during the period as the Trojans shot 8-for-12 from the floor.
“At the end of the second quarter and into the third quarter we finally started doing a better job of moving to the basket, taking our time and getting better shots and getting our feet set,” Hiebert said.
But the momentum swung one more time during the fourth period. Hillsboro turned the ball over on three of its first four possessions. On the other end of the court, Hoover, playing with the agility of a point guard, turned white hot, scoring 15 points—most of them on jump shots from the perimeter—through the first five minutes of the period.
Pratt suddenly was within seven points of Hillsboro with 3:00 to go.
“We talked about wanting to win the fourth quarter, that we have to be aggressive, we can’t be passive and let them back in the game—but we were just timid on everything,” Hiebert said.
“Defensively, Hoover was doing a nice job, but nobody was helping against her. We kind of broke down in some areas.”
Following Hillsboro’s second timeout of the quarter, Serene scored on a great assist from Stephanie Sanders. After Pratt missed back-to-back-to-back shots ion its end of the floor, Courtney Weber contributed her first points of the night when Lackey found her wide open on an inbounds play.
In the final 47 seconds of the game, Hillsboro missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-one opportunities at the free-throw line. In the end, it didn’t really matter as the Trojans shut out the Greenbacks over the final 1:18 for the 48-37 win.
Complementing Serene’s scoring production was Tena Loewen, who finished with 13 points for the Trojans. HHS is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, according to the latest Kansas Basketball Coaches Association poll.
Halstead—The Trojans overcame a slow start on offense with another impressive defensive performance to thrash Halstead 61-16 Jan. 3 at Brown Gymnasium.
Hillsboro forced Halstead into 11 first-quarter turnovers and posted a 10-1 lead by the first break despite tepid shooting from the floor and free-throw line.
The same story line continued into the second period. The Dragons didn’t manage a field goal until the 3:17 mark as the Trojans expanded the lead to 22-4 by intermission.
“Mentally, we just weren’t sharp,” coach Nathan Hiebert said about his team’s first-half execution. “Early on we’ve had some trouble adjusting to zones and knowing where to go to beat it. Sometimes it just takes us a little while.
Hillsboro finally clicked on both ends of the floor in the second half, including an 18-3 run over the final 4:43 to lead 51-13 by the end of the third period. Tena Loewen scored 14 of her game-high 23 during the quarter.
“We did a better job of ball movement and better cuts,” Hiebert said. “Most of the shots we took during that run were mostly (off) assists. They passed from one to another, found the open girl and she made the shot.
“That’s the basketball we need to find,” he added. “Our challenge is not to wait so long.”
Playing with a running clock in the final quarter, Hillsboro’s bench outscored the Dragon varsity 6-0 over the final 6:25.
For the game the Trojans made 22 of 53 shots from the field for 42 percent shooting while limiting the Dragons to 21 percent shooting (6-29).
Halstead finished with 23 turnovers. Trojan sophomore Danae Bina accounted for five of Hillsboro’s 12 steals.
Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to host Lyons Tuesday, then will travel to Nickerson Friday before hosting the Trojan Classic the following week.
Find same-night reports on each game on “Breaking News” at hillsboropress.com.