Trojan girls outlast Wamego, capture third place

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro girls defended their house against Wamego in the battle for third place at the Trojan Classic on Saturday afternoon, but missed opportunities to lock the door against the invading Red Raiders.

Hillsboro never trailed en route to a hard-fought 40-32 victory, but Wamego stayed on the edge of contention almost to the end.

Turnovers slowed Hillsboro’s assault in the first half. Hannah Marsh opened the scoring with a basket and Emily Ratzlaff hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give HHS an 8-2 lead.

The Red Raiders capitalized on some Trojan mistakes to tie the game at 8-8 when JaNeil Robinson scored in the paint. But a 3-pointer by Marsh with 2:45 left in the quarter put the Trojans ahead for good, 11-8.

Baskets by Tina Frick and Megan Peachey bumped the lead to 15-11 at the first break.

JuliAnne Chisholm accounted for all three Hillsboro baskets in the second period, and the Trojans harassed the Red Raiders into 3-for-17 shooting to maintain a 21-17 lead at intermission.

When Wamego pulled to within a point at 23-22 with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter, Laura Skiles nailed a 15-footer that ignited a pivotal 7-1 run that gave Hillsboro a 30-23 lead at the break.

“I thought Tina and Laura came in and really gave us some good minutes off the bench,” Carlson said.

Frick started the final period with a basket and Wamego missed seven straight shots before making one of two free throws with 5:05 to play.

With a 32-24 lead, Hillsboro seemed poise to take control, but the Trojans missed the front end of three straight one-and-one opportunities to keep Red Raider hopes alive.

But Wamego couldn’t take advantage, and when Amy Duerksen stepped up to make both of her free throws with 3:13 to go, Hillsboro enjoyed its biggest lead of the day at 34-24.

Sensing the win, the Trojans relaxed and made six of their last eight free throws to keep the Red Raiders at bay.

Missed free throws aside, coach Becky Carlson was pleased with the way her team battled in the second half after some shaky stretches in the first half.

“I think we just settled down a little bit,” she said. “It was really a rough game and I told them at halftime that we’re just going to have to play like this and stay within what we can do because that’s how (the officials) are letting it go.

“I thought we did a better job in the second half and were more patient on offense,” she added. “We did what we needed to do.”

Chisholm finished with 11 points to lead the Trojans, who shot 44 percent from the field (14-32). Ratzlaff added 8 and Marsh 7.

The Red Raiders got 10 points each from Robinson and Andrea VonFeldt, but as a team made only 13 of 55 shots from the floor (24 percent).

“They do have some good 3-point shooters and I thought we did a good job of taking that away,” Carlson said.

“It was a good win for us,” she added. “Wamego is a scrappy team, not a bad team at all. I was real pleased with that.”

Cair Paravel-Latin-Named after a mythical place in C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia,” Cair Paravel experienced a hard dose of reality in its 46-12 loss to Hillsboro on Thursday.

The Lions’ shallow talent pool, particularly at the guard position, was evident from the outset. The Trojans didn’t allow a point until the 1:15 mark of the second quarter and coasted to a 21-2 lead at the break.

In truth, the point spread should have been greater-even though coach Becky Carlson was substituting early and often almost from the start.

Struggling to stay focused against a lesser squad, the Trojans had difficulty scoring against the Lions’ zone defense early in the contest and, by halftime, had made only nine of 29 shots.

Hannah Marsh finally broke the ice for Hillsboro with a 3-pointer at the 6:04 mark of the opening period, then followed that 20 seconds later with a layup off a steal.

Hillsboro didn’t score again until JuliAnne Chisholm drove to the hole with 1:47 left in the quarter. Marsh’s 3-pointer 30 seconds later gave Hillsboro a 10-0 lead at the first break.

Marsh and Chisholm accounted for nine of Hillsboro’s 11 points in the second period and finished with 15 and 11, respectively, for the game.

Offensive production picked up for both teams in the second half, but the only suspense left was whether the Lions would break double digits on offense-which they did on a basket by Molly Murphy with 6:28 to play.

For the game, the Lions made only six of 37 shots from the floor (16 percent) and were 0-for-2 from the line.

Hillsboro finished with 31 percent shooting (18-58) from the floor and made five of six free throws.

The Trojans forced 32 Cair Paravel turnovers, including 14 steals, while committing 18 turnovers.

Carlson acknowledged it’s hard for a team to be on top of its game when the opponent is underequipped.

“Once we stopped pressing, I think we broke down a little bit,” she said. “But I saw some good things. We had some good penetration and things like that.”

Aside from a win that evened her team’s record at 5-5 and set them up to play for third place on Saturday, Carlson said the game did have a couple of other benefits.

“It gave us some time to rest some legs and for some girls to get some experience,” she said.

Coming-The Trojans were scheduled to take their 6-5 record to El Dorado on Tuesday for a game postponed from Jan. 4. A complete report of the contest will appear in this week’s Free Press Extra, on newsstands late Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, the Trojans travel to Marion to take on their intra-county rivals, the Warriors (5-7). The game will begin around 8 p.m.

The following Tuesday, Hillsboro will hit the road again, this time to face Halstead.

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