Hillsboro Girls beat Nickerson by nine

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
A couple of 20-plus point games from JuliAnne Chisholm fueled the Trojans to a pair of victories last week, including a 45-34 home-court win over Nickerson on Friday.

The non-league win boosted Hillsboro’s record to 4-1 for the season.

“When she plays well, we all play a little higher and a little better,” coach Dale Honeck said of his all-league senior. “She’s not the only player on the team, but she can carry us on her back for a while.”

Against Nickerson (2-4), that lift came early as Chisholm threw in nine points in the final 4:40 of the opening quarter. Her 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left gave the Trojans a 15-10 lead at the break.

The scoring pace slowed for both teams in the second quarter. But when Chisholm hit a pair of free throws with 2:12 left in the half, Hillsboro was ahead by nine, 23-14, before settling for a 23-18 margin at the buzzer.

Chisholm had 13 points by intermission and Tina Frick added six.

The Panthers pulled to within 25-22 with five minutes left in the third quarter, but a 3-pointer from Chisholm ignited an 11-2 surge that put the Trojans comfortably ahead by the end of the period, 36-24.

The Trojans more or less maintained that lead during the fourth period. But when Hillsboro made only one free throw in three consecutive one-and-one opportunities in the final 2:00, the Panthers pulled to within nine points by the end of the game.

Chisholm,with a game-high 22 points for the night, received some scoring help in the second half from freshman Samantha Soyez, who came off the bench to score eight points.

“I was glad to see (Soyez) come in and score eight points for us,” Honeck said. “We really needed that boost from her. She did a good job.

“I thought all the girls played up to expectations.”

For the game, the Trojans made 18 of 39 shots from the floor for a solid 46 percent shooting performance. They limited the Panthers to 15 baskets in 48 tries (31 percent).

Hillsboro stayed out of foul trouble in the process. Nickerson went to the free-throw line only seven times during the game.

“Defensive-wise, they had 19 at half and scored 15 in the second half-that’s good defense,” Honeck said.

“I thought our kids’ intensity was good.”

Halstead-Good pressure defense and JuliAnne Chisholm’s hot shooting hand helped Hillsboro dismantle Halstead in the second half and post a 55-40 non-league victory Tuesday at Halstead.

The Trojans had trouble shaking the scrappy Dragons in the first half. A basket by Hannah Marsh with 24 seconds left gave Hillsboro a 9-8 lead after one quarter.

In the second quarter, it took a put-back by Tina Frick after a missed free throw with 40 seconds left, then a 3-pointer by Candace Weinbrenner with five seconds left to give the Trojans a halftime lead of 22-18.

Hillsboro turned up the heat in the third quarter. The Trojans’ aggressive full-court pressure contributed to 10 Halstead turnovers during the period.

When Lora Andrews scored in the paint 14 seconds into the quarter, the Trojans launched an 11-2 surge over the next 3:30 that gave them a 34-20 lead and essentially established the final margin of victory.

“I felt our press was effective early, and then we kind of backed off of it a little bit in the second quarter,” coach Dale Honeck said. “But in the third quarter we decided to come out and press hard-and that we could beat them with the press if we worked at it.

“Of course, then (JuliAnne) Chisholm picks back up with the points,” he added. “Everything goes better when you score.”

Chisholm contributed only three of Hillsboro’s 19 points in the decisive third quarter, but the senior floor leader stepped up when the team needed her most.

The all-league forward kept the Trojans in the game with 10 points in the first half, then helped hold off the Dragons in the fourth quarter with 11 more.

Chisholm’s 24 points were a personal and team high for the new season. Frick added 10.

“Tina had an excellent game,” Honeck said. “That’s as good as I’ve seen her play seen I’ve seen her play basketball.”

The first-year coach said several players contributed their best game so far. Nine players scored before the night was over.

As a team, the Trojans made 51 percent of their shots from the field (23-45). On defense, they registered 17 steals, helping to limit the Dragons to eight fewer field-goal attempts. Halstead made nearly 49 percent of the shots they put up (18-37).

Another area that pleased Honeck was a reduction in personal fouls. Coming in averaging more than 19 a game, the Trojans were whistled for eight fouls against Halstead. The Dragons shot only eight free throws.

“We had worked so hard (in practice) last night on not fouling,” Honeck said. “We had only one foul the first half.”

Coming-Hillsboro was scheduled to close its pre-holiday action with a game Tuesday at Wichita Collegiate (2-2), the defending Class 3A champs. The Trojans will return to competition Jan. 6 when they host Hoisington.

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