ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro girls showed glimpses in their own play of what they could become later this season, but it was the play of Wichita Collegiate that set the standard for excellence Friday night in Wichita.
Showing tremendous quickness, shooting and teamwork, the Spartans rung up a resounding 77-38 win over coach Becky Carlson’s young Trojan squad.
Despite the margin, Carlson found encouragement in those glimpses of improvement from the team’s opener last week against Marion.
“Even though we got beat worse tonight, I feel better than I did last Friday,” she said. “We simply got beat by a better a team with a lot of quickness and a lot of weapons. But I felt like we played more under control tonight.”
Collegiate’s Kelci Peck set the tone for this game by hitting a 17-footer just five seconds into the contest. By the time Carlson called a timeout with 2:17 to play in the opening quarter, the Spartans owned a 12-3 lead. By quarter’s end, the Trojans trailed by the same margin, 16-7.
Collegiate took control of the contest with an 8-0 run over the first two minutes of the second quarter. The Spartans hit four of five shots-three of them coming low in the paint-while the Trojans missed all four of theirs.
Midway through the quarter, the Spartans had opened up a 32-11 margin and by halftime the score was 40-17. It could have been worse for the Trojans as Collegiate missed all four of its field-goal attempts and four straight free throws in the last 1:30.
The Trojans moved the ball better in the second half and finished the game with a 15-point fourth quarter.
But the Spartans were relentless on both ends of the court, building a 53-23 lead after three quarters and finishing with a 39-point margin.
“The half-court game didn’t kill us so much as just the fast breaks,” Carlson said.
“At this point in the season, I don’t think we’re capable of beating Collegiate,” she said. “As the year goes on, we may be able to. Tonight, that was just beyond the realm of what we could do. We had trouble matching up with them because of their quickness, then we went to the zone and they’re too good of shooters.
Ashley Bell led Collegiate in scoring with 18 points and got support from three teammates in double figures.
Hillsboro was led in scoring by its two freshmen substitutes. JuliAnne Chisholm, taking advantage of some good inside feeds in the second half, scored 12 points while Hannah Marsh added nine points, including two 3-pointers.
As a team, the Trojans finished 14 of 35 from the field for 40 percent shooting after hitting 33 percent in the opening half.
Though responding better to defensive pressure in their second game of the season, the Trojans still committed more turnovers in this game with 21.
“I just feel better about some things,” Carlson said. “We do have a ways to go, but it’s going to take some time. I felt we controlled the tempo of the game a bit more tonight-as much as we could. In comparison to last week, I saw some strides.
“I think these girls need to get some confidence,” she added. “We’ve got a tough part of our schedule right now.”
Patience is the key, Carlson said.
“It’s hard for me and it’s hard for them because we’re all so competitive to say we’re just going to have to be patient,” she said. “But you can’t take a team that lost a point guard (to graduation) and is playing freshmen a lot of the time and expect to be good immediately.
“It’s going to take some time. We just need to stick with it.”
Coming-The Trojans’ schedule didn’t get an easier with a game on the road Tuesday against state-ranked Hesston. A report of that contest will appear in this week’s Free Press Extra, which should be on newsstands by late afternoon Thursday.
The Trojans finish their pre-Christmas schedule on Friday with their home opener against Smoky Valley. Game time should be about 6:30 p.m.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF