ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro Trojans didn’t look quite like a No. 1 seed, but managed to “run” their way past eighth-seeded Ellsworth, 49-43, Monday night in the first round of the Southeast of Saline Invitational Basketball Tournament.
With the win, the Trojans advanced to the semifinals Thursday against the host team, Southeast of Saline, who defeated Ell-Saline, 50-49. The showdown between two Trojan teams will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Against Ellsworth, the Trojans started strong with a 10-3 run to open the game, but the Bearcats responded with a 12-0 run of their own on the way to a 16-12 lead after one quarter.
The Trojans slipped ahead by a point at halftime, 26-25, largely on the strength of a 9-0 run in the first two minutes of the second quarter.
Both teams had trouble scoring in the third quarter before Hillsboro mounted a 9-0 run midway through. The Trojans led 37-33 at the quarter’s end.
Hillsboro finally took control of the game with an 8-0 run that began with a Shannon Kroeker bucket with 4:25 to play and ended when Kroeker hit another bucket with 2:28 left. In between, Julie Hett scored twice.
Hett led the Trojans with 13 points, while Kroeker and Jill Hein each had 10.
The Trojans managed only 26 percent shooting from the floor (20 of 76), including only three of 16 from behind the arc.
Hein, who wasn’t feeling well, was 0-6 from 3-point land, but made five of eight inside the arc and recorded six steals.
Senior post Angela Herzet pulled down 12 rebounds for Hillsboro and scored seven points.
The Trojans (9-1) shot only eight free throws during the game, but made six.