The Hillsboro girls battled back from an early double-digit deficit only to lose their sub-state semifinal matchup with Moundridge, 60-57, in overtime Thursday night at Ell-Saline.
It appeared early that the Wildcats were primed to take revenge on their early-season loss to the Trojans, building an 8-2 lead in the first 2:30 of the game, then extending the margin to 17-7 by the end of the first quarter.
But the Trojans turned momentum in their favor in the second quarter by limiting the Wildcats to 2-for-9 shooting from the floor. Alex Ratzlaff, scoreless in the first quarter, poured in nine points and Abby Sechrist added five as the Trojans tied the game at 23 with 1:08 left in the half. Moundridge countered with a score soon after to take a 25-23 lead into halftime.
Moundridge scored the first five points of the third quarter for a seven-point lead, but Hillsboro continued to battle. When Ratzlaff scored a traditional three-point play with 1:53 left in the quarter, Hillsboro took its first lead of the night at 35-34.
After Moundridge made one of two free throws with 1:18 to play, Ratzlaff made two of three charities with 1.1 seconds left after she was fouled behind the arc. That put the Trojans back on top, 37-36, heading into the final quarter.
Hillsboro fell behind 40-37 at the 5:19 mark, but a 5-0 burst put the Trojans back in front, 42-40, with 4:06 to go. Hillsboro was still leading, 47-45, when Moundridge guard Peri Lange tied the game at the free-throw line with 42.8 seconds to play.
The Trojans were preparing for a last shot, but while Ratzlaff was dribbling down the clock, an official called a 5-second violation against her with 20 seconds to play. Moundridge had a chance to win in regulation, but missed a shot as time ran out with a 47-47 deadlock.
Tassanee Sanchez gave Hillsboro what turned out to be its last lead when she made a couple of free throws early in the overtime period. Natalie Kaufman countered with four points to give Mound?ridge a 51-49 lead.
With the Wildcats leading 55-51, Ratzlaff hit a huge three from the top of the key to cut the deficit to a single point with 50.4 seconds to go. But Moundridge made five of six free throws over the next 41 seconds to push the Trojans beyond comeback range at 60-54. Ratzlaff did hit a three-point basket with three seconds left, but the Warriors ran out the clock to claim the win.
Ratzlaff completed her high school basketball career with a 27-point effort. Sanchez and Sechrist each added nine points to the cause. The Trojans finished the season with an 11-11 record. Moundridge improved to 19-3 and will play Berean (17-5) Saturday for the tournament championship.