ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
For a four-minute stretch of the third quarter in Friday’s season opener against Marion, the Hillsboro girls showed their fans and maybe themselves just how good they could be this season.
Firing on all cylinders on defense and offense, the Trojans launched a 20-2 run that blew open an otherwise competitive game and went on to beat the home team, 64-47.
During that stretch, the Trojans got buckets from six players, several of which came off the Trojans’ defensive pressure.
“We really picked it up on defense,” coach Becky Carlson said of the run. “We got so many steals and easy baskets.”
Marion had closed Hillsboro’s 24-15 halftime lead to 28-22 with a bucket by Stacia Williams, a traditional three-point play by Brandi Peterie, and a bucket by Ashley Secrest with 4:31 left in the quarter.
Then Amber Hefley lit the Trojans’ fuse with a bucket and two free throws. Andrea Peachey added two more free throws before Marion’s Amy Tajchman cashed in a rebound to make the score 34-24.
Undeterred, Hein nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner, followed by a bucket by Peachey, two free throws by Holly Lindsay, and then a three-point play by Peachey. Robyn Penner then scored in the paint on a great feed from Peachey, and Shelby Estelle closed the run with a basket to make the score 48-24 with a little over a minute left.
The quarter ended with the Trojans on top, 50-27.
To their credit, the Warriors did not give up. Led by junior guard Krista Zogelman’s 10-point surge and seven points from Peterie in the final period, Marion closed the final margin to 17 by the final buzzer.
All nine Trojan seniors scored in the game. Hein led the way with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including two of six 3-pointers. It was Hein who kick-started the Trojan offense in the first quarter with two buckets after Maggie Powers had given the Warriors a 2-0 lead at the 6:40 mark.
Zogelman followed Hein’s baskets with a 3-pointer to give Marion one last lead, but Hillsboro went up 11-5 to lead by quarter’s end on a pair of free throws by Penner, a 3-pointer by Hein and a layup by Shannon Kroeker off a long inbounds pass from Hein.
In addition to Hein’s output, Hefley finished with 12 points and Peachey nine. As a team, the Trojans shot 47.8 percent inside the arc and were 2-of-8 behind it for 44.4 percent overall from the field. They also shot a solid 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) from the line.
Carlson said she was pleased how her team’s defensive pressure and fast break controlled the tempo of the game.
“We scored a lot of points,” Carlson said. “We hadn’t scored that many in a long time. Marion’s awfully quick. They did a good job, I thought. But I was well pleased for our first game.”
The veteran coach did find a few things to work on, though. The Warriors had a slight edge over the Trojans in rebounding, 25 to 24. Peterie and Zogelman each had five while Hein pulled down a team-high eight.
“What I told them is that, offensively, I thought we could rebound a little better,” she said. “And sometimes we weren’t there on the backside help on defense.
“But I felt we were patient on offense, took good shots, looked for the fast break, and we were aggressive on defense-all those things that we really needed to do,” she added.
Peterie and Zogelman led the Warrior attack with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Peterie was 6-of-8 from the field while Zogelman was 4-of-7 from inside the arc and made one of her two 3-point attempts.
“We moved the ball up and down the court-I was really impressed with the way they (Marion) played,” Marion coach Jerry Smith said. “Except for a couple of lapses late in the second and fourth quarter, I thought we played hard.”
As a team the Warriors shot 46.3 from the field. Marion committed 26 turnovers while Hillsboro was charged with 16.
“We’re still young and we got excited,” Smith said. “Hillsboro’s full of seniors and they did really good. If we can keep the leadership strong and keep working hard in practice, we’re just going to keep having fun.”
Coming-Tuesday, the Trojans squared off against Chase County. This Friday they will play host to Great Bend. Next Tuesday they travel to Lyons. The varsity games will begin around 6:30 p.m.
Marion, meanwhile, is participating in a tournament at Inman this week.
They played the host team last night and take on Burrton on Thursday and St. John on Friday. Both of those games are scheduled to start at 4 p.m.
The Warriors will travel to Chase County Tuesday for their Cottonwood Valley League opener. The varsity game will begin around 6:30 p.m.