ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Patience works best when you don’t try to hurry it.
The Hillsboro girls traded patience for panic late in their game against Wichita Collegiate and came up on the short end of a 35-25 score Friday at Wichita.
For about three and a half quarters, the Trojans, combining aggressive defense with a deliberate offense, went blow for blow against a much-improved Spartan team that came into the game with a 14-4 record.
But when Collegiate’s Cana Wilson scored with 5:19 left in the game to give her team a 27-23 edge, the Trojans tried a little too hard to come back quickly with a basket of their own.
Hillsboro ended up missing its last six shots from the field and committing a couple of crucial ball-handling errors against the Spartans’ pressure to open the door for the home team.
Wilson, who was scoreless until the fourth quarter, added three more baskets down the stretch while Kelcii Peck, Sam Smalley and Ashley Bell each added one as the Spartans pulled away.
All six Spartan baskets were scored in the paint, including one on a long pass to Wilson when the Trojans were caught napping on defense.
“If we could have worked the ball, we would have done fine,” coach Becky Carlson said. “But we got frustrated with waiting. The first half we waited, and the second half we didn’t.
“There was a stretch there (in the fourth quarter) where I could feel the panic, but I couldn’t slow them down.”
This game started much like the one the two teams played Dec. 13 in Brown Gymnasium-which, ironically, the Trojans won by an identical 35-25 score.
Locked into another low-scoring affair, Collegiate led by a meager 6-3 score after one quarter. Bell scored the first points of the game on a drive to to the basket with 4:33 showing on the clock. Peck scored on the Spartans’ next possession for a 4-0 lead, then Bell stole the ball, was fouled going up for the layup and made both free throws for a 6-0 score.
April Funk finally broke the ice for Hillsboro by hitting a 3-pointer with 2:54 to play. Those would be the last points from the senior, who came into the game with a 10.3 average.
The Spartans also shut down Katie Fast, the Trojans’ No. 2 scorer, who finished the game with only one field goal and three free throws.
“They really doubled down (on Fast) and were out on April after that first 3,” Carlson said. “They were really quick to get wherever we we were. We just didn’t get a good shot off; we had to work awfully hard.”
With Funk and Fast struggling to score, the Trojans got an offensive boost from Amy Duerksen, who had averaged just over two points per game over her last three games.
The sophomore finished with 11 points for against Collegiate, including five in the second quarter. Her 15-footer from the baseline with one second left propelled the Trojans into a 12-10 halftime lead.
The two teams literally traded baskets through the first four minutes of the third quarter. With Hillsboro ahead, 18-16, Jacquie Koepsel nailed a 3-pointer that gave Collegiate the lead for good with 3:51 left in the period.
By the end of the period, the Spartans had extended the margin to 25-21. Duerksen scored the first basket of the final period by sticking back a rebound with 5:39 to go, but the Trojans would draw no closer.
As a testament to the defense both teams played, neither squad got off a lot of shots. Hillsboro finished 11-of-31 from the field for 35.5 percent while the Spartans were 16-of-38 for 42 percent.
Except for the late slide, Carlson was pleased with her team’s performance against Collegiate.
“I felt like we played great defense and made a lot of adjustments on offense-and I thought we did a good job of adjusting,” she said.
“This is a good game for us going into sub-state,” Carlson added. “(Collegiate) is a good basketball team and I thought we did a decent job against them.”
Coming-The Trojans were scheduled to complete their regular season Tuesday with a game against Haven (10-9). A full report of that game will appear in the Feb. 27 issue of the Free Press Extra, on newsstands late Thursday afternoon.
Post-season play will begin next week at Hesston. The pairings were not available at press time, but will be reported in the Extra (if released by Wednesday), on the Free Line (947-3363) and on the Web (old.hillsborofreepress.com).