The Halstead Dragons brought their two state-ranked teams to Hillsboro’s Robert C. Brown Gymnasium on Tuesday, and when the evening was finished, both Dragon teams proved their ranking in Class 3A. The Halstead girls encountered a low-energy effort from the hometown Trojans and rolled to a 49-22 victory. The Halstead boys battled Hillsboro through four quarters and two overtime periods before emerging with a 56-49 victory.
GIRLS—Halstead started quickly, scoring three consecutive baskets in the first 1:13 for a 6-0 lead. But when Hillsboro’s Abby Sechrist scored in the lane at the 4:29 mark, she ignited an 8-0 Trojan run to take the lead with 1:38 left in the quarter. Halstead led 11-8 as the quarter ended.
As it turned out, the first quarter was about the only notable highlight for the Trojans. Their effort and shooting accuracy diminished as the game went on. By the end of the second quarter, the Dragons led 23-10 and by the end of the third quarter the margin was 40-17. In fairness, the Dragons showed a respectable effort on offense, and earned their 23-point lead. A 9-5 fourth quarter—with a running clock for almost half of it—gave the Dragons their 27-point victory.
Teegan Werth was Hillsboro’s leading scorer with seven points, but the team made only 21 percent of their shots (8-38), they made two of 12 shots behind the arc and four of eight free throws.
Halstead, led by Daphne Williams with 22 points, made 19 of 50 shots (38 percent), including six of 12 shots from 3-point range. The Dragons held a 40-25 advantage in rebounding.
The loss drops the Trojans to 8-10 for the season with Hesston coming up on Friday.
BOYS—The game started slowly on the scoreboard. Halstead led 11-7 after the first quarter and 16-15 after two quarters.
In the third quarter, the Trojans caught fire, coming out of halftime with a 9-2 run in the first 1:30 for a 24-18 lead. Wes Shaw fueled the surge with a 3-point basket and a pair of 2-pointers for seven of his 19 points in the game. By the end of the third quarter, the Trojans led 35-26.
The story of the game turned in the fourth quarter. When Elias Werth scored in the lane, Hillsboro had its biggest lead of the night at 37-28 with 4:47 to play.
But a 3-point basket by Halstead’s Baylor Bohling, followed by a pair of free throws from teammate Braden Gerber, suddenly cut the lead to 37-33. Darian Ratzlaff responded with a traditional 3-point play for his first points of the night to push the lead back to seven. But the atmosphere in the gym was beginning to swing Halstead’s way.
Even so, the Trojans were still up by two scores, 42-38, with 42.6 seconds to play. But Gerber hit two more free throws and Kason O’Neal scored at the buzzer for a 42-42 tie at the end of regulation.
The two teams entered the first overtime with intensity, but not much scoring. Shaw hit two free throws at the 2:09 mark and O’Neal hit both ends of a one-and-one with 1:08 left, but neither team scored the rest of the period.
In the second overtime, Halstead caught fire as O’Neal drained a 3-point and a 2-point shot in the span of 17 seconds for a 49-44 lead. Two more free throws from Gerber put Halstead on top 51-44 with 2:45 left.
Werth pulled Hillsboro back into contention with back-to-back 2-point baskets to draw within 51-48. But Halstead made five of six free throws in the final 56 seconds to keep the Trojans at bay. A final charity toss by Werth with 16 seconds left completed the 56-49 final score.
Werth was the game’s high scorer with 23 points, but Shaw was close behind with 19. As a team, Hillsboro made a third of their shots (17-51) from the field while Halstead was slightly behind at 51 percent (17-54).
With the loss, Hillsboro slipped to 14-4 with Hesston coming up on Friday.