ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The tag-team scoring punch of Tina Frick and JuliAnne Chisholm ignited the Hillsboro girls to a solid 64-54 win over a tough Ellinwood team for the Trojans’ home-court finale on Friday.
Trailing the second-place Eagles 14-11 after the opening quarter, the Trojans found 6-foot-1 Frick open in all the right places during a pivotal 22-11 burst during the second period.
Cashing in feeds from Hannah Marsh, Aubrey Weinbrenner and Lora Andrews, Frick scored three consecutive times in the first 1:12 to put Hillsboro ahead 17-16.
After a basket by Ellinwood, Hillsboro’s Laura Skiles drained a 3-pointer from the left wing for a 20-18 Trojan lead. A pair of free throws tied the game, but a string of three more baskets by Frick went unanswered by the Eagles, giving the Trojans the lead for good at 26-20 at the 3:02 mark.
After Chisholm nailed a 3-pointer with 2:24 left, Frick added her seventh and eighth basket of the quarter in the final 1:15 to give Hillsboro a 33-25 advantage by halftime.
“She did a good job of getting herself into a position to be open,” coach Melissa Stenfors said about Frick’s 16-point contribution. “She’s the tallest person out there, so she’s easy to spot.
“(Ellinwood) doubled up a little bit and kind of got us tangled up a few times early in the game. But some fast breaks opened it up a little and we got more inside looks.”
As it turned out, Frick had one more basket within her, and contributed it to start the third quarter. At that point, the scoring baton was passed to Chisholm, who accounted for Hillsboro’s next seven points and a 42-35 lead with just under two minutes left in the third quarter.
A basket by Amanda Faber and two free throws by Andrews offset three points from Ellinwood’s all-league performer Chelsea Malone to give Hillsboro a 46-38 lead at the end of the quarter.
At the start of the final period, the Eagles rallied. Chisholm scored first for Hillsboro, but Ellinwood responded with an 8-0 run that pulled the Eagles to within four points at 48-44 with 5:26 left.
But Chisholm scored off an inbounds pass from Marsh, then cashed in an Ellinwood turnover 30 seconds later to push the lead back to eight, 52-44.
Three free throws by Malone brought the Eagles back to within five points. But Hillsboro, 50 percent free-throw shooters for the season, stepped up with 12 hits in 14 chances down the stretch to nail down the 10-point win.
Chisholm finished as the game’s top scorer with 23 points to complement Frick’s 18. As a team, the Trojans made 22 of 37 shots from the floor for 59 percent success.
“I was pleased with our half-court offense especially,” Stenfors said. “The press offense, we could have handled a few situations a little better. But the half-court really did a good job.”
Malone led Ellinwood with 17 points and Sarah Plowman added 10. The loss dropped the Eagles 13-4 overall and 8-2 in the league while Hillsboro improved to 10-9 and 5-5.
“I think the girls have regained some of that confidence that sort of dwindled there for a while,” Stenfors said. “We’re coming back on the same page now, and they believe in themselves and in what we’re doing.
“We needed that one.”
Wichita Collegiate-Even on the best of nights, Hillsboro’s chances were slim of upsetting one of the best high school girls’ teams in Kansas.
That illness forced Hillsboro coach Melissa Stenfors to miss Tuesday’s game against undefeated Wichita Collegiate probably signaled the evening would not go so well.
In the end, the Spartans, ranked second in Class 3A, lived up to their lofty billing with a convincing 66-31 victory over the Trojans.
Over the first 3:30 of the game, it appeared Hillsboro was up to the task. Two baskets by Tina Frick kept Hillsboro close at 5-4.
But a bull’s-eye by Collegiate 3-point sharpshooter Paige Floodman at the 4:15 mark ignited an 11-1 run that put the Spartans on top 16-5 at the first break.
JuliAnne Chisholm scored four unanswered points in the first 35 seconds of the second quarter. But Collegiate removed all doubt about the outcome with a 15-1 run over the next four minutes. Hillsboro trailed at halftime, 31-16.
Seventeen turnovers during the first half limited Hillsboro to 11 field goal attempts; the Trojans made six. Collegiate, meanwhile, threw up 34 shots and made 13.
Believe it or not, the Spartans kicked up their game a notch in the third quarter.
The ensuing 27-10 surge put them ahead by 32 points by the end of the quarter. It also made quick work of the fourth quarter, thanks to the league’s continuous-clock rule.
Assistant coach Dennis Boldt, who filled in for Stenfors, said he was satisfied with the Trojans’ effort against an overwhelming foe.
“Collegiate’s a good team-and a very good shooting team,” he said. “You do something well, and then they come down and make a good shot right away.
“We lost a little bit of fire (after the first quarter), and who can blame someone when you play so well (but fall even further behind)?”
Boldt said the Trojans accomplished the pre-game goal of doing a better job of blocking out for rebounds-but the effort met with only limited success.
“We got into position tonight, but we didn’t keep them out,” he said. “It was a physical game, and the refs let it be physical. There weren’t seven fouls on the board in either half. We should have pushed back even more than we did.”
Lora Andrews led Hillsboro with eight points and Chisholm finished with seven.
As a team, the Trojans actually shot well-48 percent (12-25) for the night. But Collegiate put up more than twice as many shots and also made 48 percent (27-56).
The Trojans finished with 29 turnovers to 11 for Collegiate.
Coming-The Trojans were scheduled to complete their regular season Tuesday with a game at Hoisington.
Sub-state play begins Monday, Feb. 27. Hillsboro will compete at Hesston, where the Trojans and Swathers will join a field that includes Northern Heights, Mission Valley, Southeast of Saline, Halstead, Marion and Osage City.
Pairings will be announced no later than Friday, Feb. 24, and will be posted as soon as possible on the Free Press Web site.