HHS girls earn berth in sub-state championship

No one knew it at the time, but Shannon Kroeker’s 3-pointer with a second left in the third quarter may have been the winning shot in the Trojans 56-40 win over Southeast of Saline in the semifinals of the sub-state tournament in Lyons, Saturday night.

The basket gave the Trojans a 34-31 lead at quarter’s end, but also a major psychological lift that fueled a 22-9 final period and a big victory for HHS.

Hillsboro jumped to an early 10-1 lead in the game, thanks to eight points from Kroeker out of the gate. By the end of the quarter, though, Southeast was back in it, trailing by four, 16-12. By halftime, SES had crawled all the way back into a 22-22 tie.

SES scored the first bucket of the second half to take its first lead. They still led by two points, 31-29, when Jill Hein hit a 16-footer from the right wing with 28 seconds left in the third quarter. Hillsboro got the ball back on charging call against SES and Kroeker then drained her 3-pointer from the left wing right before the buzzer sounded.

An re-inspired Hillsboro squad then reeled off nine unanswered points through the first three minutes of the final quarter to take command of the game. Leading 44-34 with 3:53 to go, coach Becky Carlson opted to run some clock and let her team seal the victory at the free-throw line — which they did, hitting 10-of-12 charities down the stretch.

Kroeker finished with 20 points for HHS, which will take its 18-4 season record against MCAA rival Hesston Monday for a berth in the state tournament in Hutchinson. The girls will play at 6 p.m. The Trojan boys will take on Hoisington at 7:30 p.m. in the boys’ championship.

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