The Hillsboro basketball teams made the long trek to Hoisington Tuesday night, and came home with a win and a loss for their effort. The Trojan girls pulled out a 43-39 victory while the boys? fourth-quarter rally ran out of gas too soon, leaving Hillsboro on the short end of a 51-43 score.
GIRLS — The ending turned out great, but the start may have been the roughest of the season for the Trojans. The girls committed eight turnovers in the opening period and made only one of three shots from the floor to trail 9-3 at the first break. More significant, the team?s primary scorer, Alex Ratzlaff, picked up her second foul a mere 2:22 into the contest, turning her into a spectator for the rest of the first quarter.
Ratzlaff started the second quarter and finally put some points on the board with a pair of free throws at the 5:14 mark. But she quickly picked up her third foul — and a return ticket to the bench — with 4:25 left in the half. In all, Ratzlaff?s pine time absorbed 10 minutes of the 16-minute half.
That said, the Trojans trailed Cardinals by a mere four points at intermission, 18-14, thanks to Hoisington?s 5-for-23 shooting.
Ratzlaff started the third quarter, but picked up her third foul at the 4:01 mark — this time she stayed in the game and ended up contributing seven of the Trojans? 11 points to close the gap to 28-25 by the end of the quarter.
As the fourth quarter began, Ratzlaff scored Hillsboro?s next nine points, including a three-point basket at the 4:18 mark that gave the Trojans their first lead of the night at 33-32. Then Ratzlaff picked up her fourth foul shortly thereafter and returned to the bench.
Hoisington responded with a three-point basket, but Tara Proffitt matched it in a big way nine seconds later to put Hillsboro ahead again. After the Cardinals scored a basket with 3:01 to go, Proffitt struck back with one at the 2:00 mark, and Hillsboro led, 39-37.
Ratzlaff returned to the game at that point, but her scoring skills weren?t needed this time. Darcy Heinrichs hit a huge basket on an inbounds play with 58 seconds left. After Hoisington scored, Proffitt drew a foul with 3.8 seconds to play, then iced the victory by hitting both ends of the one-and-one.
Despite her bench time, Ratzlaff again finished as Hills?boro?s scoring leader with 18 points, but Proffitt was right behind with a career-high 14. Marisa Jones led Hoisington with 14.
With the win, Hillsboro improved to 7-9 for the season and 4-3 in the league, while Hoisington slipped to an identical record of 7-9 and 4-3.
BOYS — Hillsboro fell behind soon after Austin Cross scored the game?s first basket. The Cardinals went on a slow but steady 13-2 run to lead 13-4 with 1:39 left in the period. Josh Funk added a free throw for Hillsboro, but Hoisington scored a basket with 1:05 left to establish a 15-5 led. The Trojans? leading scorer, Micah Allen, then hit back-to-back threes — the first with 37.2 seconds left and the second one at the buzzer — to cut the lead to 16-11 at the first break.
With the two teams more or less trading scores through the second period, the Cardinals took a 26-22 lead into intermission.
Baskets by Cross and Allen, followed by a pair of free throws by Grant Knoll, pulled the Trojans into a 28-28 tie at the 5:39 mark of the third quarter. But four consecutive turnovers by the Trojans enabled the home team to expand the lead again to 35-28 . The margin grew to nine points before Knoll scored on a drive to the basket and added a bonus free throw on the foul.
Hillsboro was poised to make a fourth-quarter rally, just as the girls? team did, but this time the team ran out of bullets. The Trojans made only one of the 12 shots they took during the quarter. Even so, 6-for-8 shooting at the free-throw line, plus a three-point basket by Braden Vogt, was enough to pull the Trojans to within 44-43 with 2:38 to play.
Unfortunately, a string of three consecutive turnovers mixed with three missed shots down the stretch short-circuited a happy ending for Hillsboro.
Allen led all scorers with 20 points and Austin Cross added nine for Hillsboro. Steffan Dolecheck led Hoisington with 13 points.
The loss dropped Hillsboro to 9-7 and 3-4, while Hoisington improved to 7-9 and 2-5. Hillsboro will play host to Kingman on Friday.