For the second time in two post-season games, the Hillsboro High School girls used a strong first-half performance to propel themselves to victory. This time it was a 47-31 win over Sedgwick in the semifinals of the Class 3A sub-state tournament in Marion.
Allie Faul set the tone early, scoring a pair of baskets off of steals within the first minute. Tiffany Rooker added a basket, Dakota Kaufman scored twice and added a bonus free-throw and Abi Humber scored to push the margin to 13-2 at the 1:43 mark. After Sedgwick managed a basket, Faul unloaded a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left to give HHS a 16-4 margin at the first break.
Hillsboro continued its dominance in the second period, again using its defense to fuel transition baskets on the offensive end. By the time the buzzer sounded the arrival of halftime, Hillsboro was up 25-7.
The Trojan defense contributed to 16 Sedgwick turnovers and 3-for-17 shooting by the Cardinals in the first two quarters.
With the score 27-13 following a slow Trojan start in the third quarter, Faul scored on a great pass from Kaufman at the 4:58 mark, then drained a 3-pointer from the wing. Candace Weinbrenner swished a pair of free-throws and Hillsboro enjoyed its largest lead of the game at 34-13 with 3:15 left in the period.
The Trojans then stumbled into four straight turnovers and a missed shot, enabling Sedgwick to close the gap to 34-21. Kassidi Luthi then scored on an assist from Kaufman to make the score 36-21 at the final break.
Sedgwick continued its slow comeback into the fourth quarter and got within nine points at the 6:07 mark when Sandra Douvier scored to make the score 38-29.
But Hillsboro gathered itself and launched an 8-0 run before Sedgwick added the last points of the game with 1:11 to go. Tiffany Rooker contributing four points and a steal to the final surge.
Hillsboro shot 47 percent (17-36) from the floor for the game while limiting Sedgwick to 29 percent (12-41) shooting. The Cardinals held a 35-20 advantage in rebounds, but they also committed 26 turnovers to Hillsboro?s 14.
Faul had five steals and finished with a team-high 15 points to pace HHS. Kaufman added 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as HHS improved to 13-9 and reserved a berth in the 6:30 p.m. championship game on Saturday.
The Trojans will face off against Halstead, a 62-57 winner over Southeast of Saline on Thursday. The Dragons (13-9) defeated the Trojans by a single point in their game earlier in the season.