Trojans beat Junction City for 3rd place at SES

Shannon Kroeker scored 22 points and Amber Hefley and Jill Hein combined for 23 more to pace the Hillsboro Trojans to a 52-48 win over Class 6A Junction City in the third-place game at the Southeast of Saline Girls Basketball Tournament Friday.

Hillsboro came out a different team than the one that played so poorly in the semifinal loss to Salina Central the previous night. After posting a 14-13 lead after one quarter, Hein hit a 3-pointer from the right wing and Kroeker followed with six unanswered points to put Hillsboro ahead 23-17 with 4:35 left in the first quarterr. Robyn Penner’s bucket less than a minute later gave Hillsboro its biggest lead of the night, 25-17. The Blue Jays rallied to close the gap back to one, 25-24 by halftime.

The Trojans pushed the marging to four, 42-38 after three quarters, but Junction City came back to take 48-46 lead with a little more than three and a half minutes left in the game. Kroeker then tied the game with a pair of free throws with 2:46 to play. The two team traded possessions before Hefley hit a huge 3-pointer from the right corner with 38.5 second left in the game to give Hillsboro the lead and ultimately the game. Kroeker added one more layup with 10.2 seconds left for the final margin.

As key as Kroeker’s offensive production was, the difference in this game was the return of Hein and Hefley, neither of whom scored a point in the semifinal loss to Salina South. Hefley finished with 12 and Hein with 11.

With the win, Hillsboro moves to 11-2 on the season.

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