Hillsboro jumped to a commanding 18-3 lead after one quarter, having its way against the Roadrunners’ man defense. Scoring all 18 points by taking the ball inside, the Trojan surge was led by post players Dakota Kaufman with six points and Kassidi Luthi, who came off the bench, with five.
But the Roadrunners retooled in the second quarter, coming out in a zone defense that seemed to catch the Trojans off stride. Chaparral limited Hillsboro to a single basket over the first 6:00 of the quarter and managed two baskets in 12 attempts, plus three free throws, to cut the deficit to 20-10.
A basket by Amanda Faber and a free throw by Luthi gave HHS a 23-11 lead at the break.
“In the second quarter I think we just didn’t have as much patience,” coach Nathan Hiebert said about his team’s lull on offense. “We were getting some easy things against the man (defense), and we didn’t adjust to the zone very well. They were packing it in, and we didn’t show as much patience as we needed.
“We talked about that at halftime and made the adjustments. We wanted to work it around and make sure we got plenty of passes. We wanted to get it into the post, and the other post would probably be open if we did. So we did some nice things there. The guards had some nice penetration to open things up, too.”
Hillsboro incorporated the adjustments effectively on offense during the third quarter while shutting out the Roadrunners on defense. The 14-0 surge put the game out of reach at 37-11 by the final break.
Hiebert cleared his bench with 5:52 left in the game and his team leading 42-14. Chaparral responded with a 14-4 surge to make the final margin more respectable.
One key for Hillsboro was the full-court pressure defense that Hiebert and his team employed for much of the game.
“The coaches we talked to said (the Roadrunners) really struggle with pressure,” he said. “We also knew they played late last night, and we wanted to take advantage of that. We wanted to pressure them into some situations where we could get the ball back and take some quick shots.
“I think that worked for us.”
Kaufman led a balanced attack with 14 points while Faber added 13 and Luthi 12.
As a team, the Trojans made 21 of 47 field-goal attempts (45 percent) and three of seven free throws while holding the Roadrunners to 23 percent (9-40) shooting from the floor. Chaparral made only six of 17 free throws.
Hiebert said he was pleased to earn his first victory as a high-school varsity coach, but felt it was even more important for his young players.
“It’s great for their confidence,” he said. “It’s great for our guards, who did some nice things tonight. Against the first two teams we had a lot of pressure defense on our guards. Coming away from that, I don’t know if they could see some of the nice things they did.
“So this was a confidence booster, and when you start feeling good, a lot more positive things happen. Your shots go in a little easier, you start enjoying the game more. That’s definitely nice.”
Cheney—For the second time in as many games, Hillsboro got off to a strong start against a quality opponent on Tuesday— only to see victory slip away in the second half.
This time the opponent was Cheney in the second round of pool play in the Cardinal Classic. The final score at Brown Gymnasium was 48-42.
The Trojans actually pitched a shutout in the first quarter and took a 7-0 lead into the second period. Cheney finally got its transition game into gear, and closed the gap to 15-14 by intermission.
“One of the things we talked about a lot at halftime was transition defense,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “Cheney’s a talented team and very athletic. They can get down the court quickly and they’re very efficient when they do that. When they got it up and got transition on it, they did some good things.”
Unfortunately, the Trojans were slow to translate Hiebert’s words into deeds. Kylie Patterson gave Cheney its first lead on a transition basket 34 seconds into the third quarter.
Dakota Kaufman countered with a basket for Hillsboro, but Cheney kept up the pressure to forge a 12-2 run and a 28-19 lead over the next four minutes.
“We just didn’t execute,” Hiebert said about Cheney’s surge. “That’s one of the things I need to do a better job of preparing the girls on.”
Maybe Hiebert’s team didn’t execute, but it didn’t roll over either.
Six-for-six free-throw shooting by Kaufman, Kassidi Luthi and Natasha Hollingshead brought the Trojans back to within four points, 29-25, by the end of the period—despite HHS making only one of 10 field-goal attempts.
A 3-pointer by Samantha Heinrichs to start the fourth quarter brought HHS to within a point. The Trojans were still within three, 38-35, after Amy Neufeld scored on a reverse layup with 3:09 left in the game.
But Patterson hit a back-to-back 3-pointer and 2-pointer to push the Trojans to the brink with 2:25 left.
Kaufman contributed a 2-point basket and Neufeld added a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer down the stretch, but Hillsboro never got closer than the final six-point margin.
Hiebert was buoyed by his team’s competitive spirit.
“That’s one of the things I’m proud of—we’ve got girls that won’t quit,” he said. “They give their best effort and want to do the best job possible.”
Neufeld and Kaufman led HHS with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Patterson and Hailey Tweitmeyer led a balanced Cardinal attack with 10 points a piece; two teammates each added eight.
As a team, Hillsboro managed only 30 percent shooting (13-43) for the game, but 10-of-10 free-throw shooting in the second half lifted them to 12-of-14 for the game.
Cheney made only seven of 18 free throws while shooting 41 percent from the field, including a 10-4 advantage in points off of turnovers. Hillsboro committed 18 while the Cardinals had 15.
Coming—Hillsboro (1-2) looked to even its season record against Halstead on Tuesday, weather permitting. The Trojans are scheduled to face a strong Nickerson squad on Friday before squaring off with a strong squad from Wichita Collegiate next Tuesday.