HHS girls struggle offensively, but win

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
A sparkling first quarter gave the Hillsboro High School girls’ basketball team enough luster to beat a never-say-die squad from Marion, 44-36, in Friday’s season opener for both teams.


Leading only 4-3 after four and a half minutes, the Trojans lit up the Warriors with some effective full-court pressure and outside shooting.


Offensively, Jill Hein was the brightest light, hitting three 3-pointers. Amber Hefley came off the bench to add a 3-pointer and 2-pointer as Hillsboro raced to a commanding 20-3 lead by the end of the period.


The rest of the game, though, was an even match. The teams traded not only baskets, but also a slew of turnovers and missed shots, several from close range.


The Trojans also hurt themselves from the free-throw line, hitting only eight of 21 attempts, including misses on the front end of six one-and-one situations.


Marion, meanwhile, closed the game with a strong final period, outscoring Hillsboro 17-9 to cut the final margin of the game to eight points.


Coach Becky Carlson liked the intensity of her team throughout the game, even if the results on offense were less than stellar at times.


“One thing I have to realize, we’re not going to be where we were at the end of the season last year,” she said. “I saw a lot of good things. I saw a lot of intensity on defense.”


The Trojans recorded 21 steals, but for much of the night they struggled to capitalize on those breaks.


“The biggest thing I think we need to do is be more disciplined on offense,” Carlson said. “That’s a key to a lot of teams that like to get up and down the court. When you don’t have anything, you need to pull it out and slow it down. I think we’ll learn from that.”


Throughout the night, the Trojan offense depended on its outside shooting, particularly from Hein. The junior point guard finished with a game-high 23, including five of 13 from behind the arc.


“We just could not get the ball inside,” Carlson said. “And when we did, we could not turn and face the basket. So then the outside has to pick it up. Jill really stepped up and did that.”


The Trojans’ 19 turnovers disappointed Carlson but she chalked up a lot of it to first-game lapses.


“You always wonder what you need to work on-until you have a game, you don’t know,” Carlson said.


“Now we know we need to take care of the ball when we have it. Those are things we’ll get better at as the season goes on.”


Carlson also gave her opponent some credit for her team’s uneven play.


“I thought Marion played against us very well,” she said. “They had a hard time against our press, but they did what they needed to do to beat us. We’re just deeper than they are.”


Eight Warriors scored in the game, led by Krista Zogelman with eight points and six by Melissa Moffit and Katie Rogers.


Overall, Carlson was encouraged by the outing.


“I can’t say much negative,” she said. “The girls played hard. There wasn’t anybody in there who went in and didn’t play hard.


“I thought our defense was awesome,” she added. “Offensively, we’re going to be there. We did some real good things.


“You can’t be disappointed when your team wins.”


Coming-The Trojans played at Chase County Tuesday night. Results of the game are available on the Free Line (947-3363) and on the Free Press Web site (old.hillsborofreepress.com).


On Friday, Hillsboro travels to Great Bend. The following Tuesday, Dec. 12, the Trojans host Lyons. The varsity girls’ games will begin around 6:30 p.m.

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