ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
An outstanding defensive effort in the first half propelled the Hillsboro girls to a 47-29 win over Hoisington in the regular-season finale for the both teams.
Forcing the Cardinals into 1-for-23 shooting for the first half, the Trojans led 13-0 after the first quarter and 20-3 by intermission.
Hoisington didn’t crack the scoreboard until Krista Andereck sank a 15-footer from the baseline with 6:10 left in the second period. Hayley Glynn added a free throw with 1:09 left in the half for the Cardinals’ only other point.
The Trojans, meanwhile, shot a tepid 32 percent (7-22) during the opening two quarters, but got nine points from JuliAnne Chisholm to build a nice lead by halftime.
Baskets by Hannah Marsh and Audrey Weinbrenner put the Trojans ahead 24-3 in the first 1:10 of the third quarter. But the Trojans’ dominance subsided as the Cardinals found their wings and outscored the Trojans 14-8 through the rest of the quarter to trail 32-17 at the final break.
An 11-5 start to the final quarter pushed Hillsboro’s lead back to 43-22 with 3:06 to play. The Trojans finished with their 18-point spread as coach Melissa Stenfors cleared her bench down the stretch.
The Trojan coach said she was disappointed her team was unable to achieve its halftime goal of holding Hoisington to under 20 points.
“We allowed too much dribble penetration,” she said. “We just lost a little intensity, I think.”
Chisholm and Marsh finished as Hillsboro’s one-two punch with 13 and 11 points, respectively. As a team, the Trojans shot 38 percent from the floor (14-37) and made 18 of 25 free throws.
Hoisington got a team-high 14 points from 5-foot-4 guard Samantha Burns. The Trojan defense limited the Cardinals’ leading scorer, Kyra Horesky, to two points on 1-for-14 shooting. As a team, Hoisington shot a chilly 24 percent (10-41) from the field.
“I feel really good about the feeling on the team right now,” Stenfors said. “We’ve built our confidence back up now and we’re back where we were at our peak.
“I feel we’re ready for sub-state-and we’re excited about it, because we know that no matter what our record is, we’re playing good ball right now, and that’s pretty exciting.”
The win improved Hillsboro’s record to 11-9 overall and a final mark of 6-5 in the Mid-Central Activities Association.
Hillsboro’s season record was good enough to make the Trojans the No. 4 seed at this week’s sub-state tournament. HHS was scheduled to open play at home Tuesday against the Marion Warriors, seeded fifth at 6-14.
The winner of that game will play the winner of the first-round game between Osage City, seeded first at 18-1, and Mission Valley (0-19) at Hesston on Friday.