The Hillsboro basketball teams encountered not one, but two ranked teams when they came to Hesston on Friday for a rivalry matchup. The Trojan girls actually led the Swathers’ No. 8 ranked team in Class 3A after one quarter, but the home team gradually pulled away to a 55-34 final score.
The Trojans boys, meanwhile, were blitzed in the first quarter to the tune of 22-13, and never did recover on the way to a 64-53 loss to No. 5 ranked Hesston.
GIRLS—Hillsboro jumped to a 6-2 lead with back-to-back 3-point baskets by freshmen Kinsey Kleiner and Teegan Werth. Werth hit a second three and added a 2-pointer for a total of eight points as the Trojans posted a 13-12 lead.
Hillsboro’s hot shooting quickly cooled in the second quarter, however, as the Trojans made only two baskets on 14 shots. Hesston took advantage of the shift to take a 25-17 lead by halftime.
Still within striking range, the Trojans had their most challenging quarter as the second half began. Hillsboro committed eight turnovers on its first 11 possessions. The only made basket was Kleiner’s second 3-point basket of the game at the 4:25 mark. Meanwhile, Hesston established a 41-20 lead with 2:28 to go. Baskets by Hillsboro’s Abby Sechrist and Jessica Saunders, plus another 3-point basket by Werth cut the deficit slightly to 44-27 as the quarter ended. Hesston edged Hillsboro 11-7 in the fourth quarter for the 55-34 final score. Werth led the Trojans with 11 points.
BOYS—Hesston’s Reece Nebel scorched the nets for 15 points in the opening quarter and tallied 23 by halftime as the Swathers posted a 22-13 lead after the first quarter and a 36-21 margin by halftime.
While No. 14 Nebel was having a hot shooting night, Hillsboro’s No. 14, Elias Werth, was battling the dark side of success. On this night, the Trojans’ season scoring leader missed every shot, every free throw—and even missed a layup or two—before he finally broke the drought with a 3-point basket with 1:11 left in the third quarter. Hesston led 45-30 as the quarter ended.
While Werth was battling through his shooting funk, teammate Darian Ratzlaff stepped up to help fill the void with 29 points. Nebel, meanwhile, finished with 31 points as his team nailed down the 64-53 victory.
Coming—Hillsboro teams will complete the regular season Tuesday when Smoky Valley comes to Robert C. Brown Gymnasium. The Trojans girls bring a record of 8-11 while the Trojans boys are 14-5.