Hillsboro?s basketball teams experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of a late collapse, splitting their games with the host Wildcats at the Moundridge Pre-season Tournament Thursday night. The Trojan girls rolled to a 39-32 halftime on the way to a 60-52 win while the boys saw an eight-point lead evaporate in the final three minutes of the game to absorb their first loss of the season, 49-44.
GIRLS — Hillsboro and Moundridge put on a scoring exhibition in a 39-32 first half. The Trojans? were led by a 17-point explosion from Tas Sanchez while the Wildcats got 15 points from Ashley Holler. The difference between the two teams at the break was 14 points tossed in by Alex Ratzlaff.
Beyond the scoring pace, the first half was marred by 25 personal fouls — 12 committed by Hillsboro and 13 by Mound?ridge. The Trojans made 13 of 22 free throws in the first two quarters while the Wildcats made 10 of 22.
Abby Sechrist scored three baskets in the paint in the first 2:20 of the third quarter to push Hillsboro?s lead to 45-34. By the end of the quarter, the Trojans still led, 53-43.
Somehow, the Trojans survived another rough fourth quarter, committing seven turnovers and missing both of their field-goal attempts and both of their free throws. The scoreless 5:48 enabled Moundridge to pull within 53-52 on a three-point basket by Holler with 3:00 to play.
Sophomore substitute Sienna Kaufman then broke Hillsboro?s funk with a huge three-point basket from the top of the key with 2:12 left in the quarter. The Wildcats failed to score in the final three minutes as Hillsboro posted its third straight win of the season.
Sanchez and Ratzlaff tied for scoring honors for Hills?boro with 19 points. Holler finished with 21 points to lead all scorers.
BOYS — Hillsboro played three and a half solid quarters of basketball, but stumbled down the stretch in a frustrating finish.
Moundridge led 13-11 after one quarter, but with Hillsboro holding the Wildcats to 2-for-10 shooting in the second quarter, the Trojans established a 22-18 halftime lead. Preston Loewen and Braden Vogt each contibuted a three-point basket.
Hillsboro outscored the home team 15-9 in the third quarter for a 37-27 lead. Austin Cross scored six points during the period while Loewen and Darian Ratzlaff each nailed a three-point shot.
When Cross converted a traditional three-point play at the 3:17 mark of the final quarter, Hillsboro led, 44-36. Suddenly, the Trojans lost their way, committing turnovers on their next six possessions while watching the Wildcats cash them in for a 10-0 run that put the home team ahead by two. Hillsboro missed its final three shots of the game, while Mound?ridge made three of four free throw to nail down the improbable comeback victory.
Cross led Hilsboro with 15 points while Loewen added 11 as the Trojans slip to 1-1 in the tournament and 2-1 for the season.
Hillsboro will complete tournament play Friday with games against Lyons. The girls will play at 4 p.m. and the boys? game will follow around 5:30 p.m.