Hillsboro basketball teams prevail at Pratt

Hillsboro made the long trip to Pratt worthwhile Friday, bringing home a pair of basketball wins against the Greenbacks. The Trojan girls broke open a low-scoring close game with a 19-point third quarter and went on to win by a 47-35 margin. The Trojan boys survived a brutal battle by making 10 of 14 free throws in the final quarter to nail down a 38-35 victory. With the wins, the girls improve to 10-5 overall and 5-1 in the Central Kansas League while the boys? record is 12-3 and 5-1.

GIRLS — The home team jumped to a 9-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but Hillsboro responded with a 6-0 burst to close the gap to one point. The Green?backs scored a basket and two free throws in the final 1:06 to lead 13-8 as the quarter ended.

Defense took over in the second quarter as the Trojans limited Pratt to two points on 1-for-9 shooting, and a three-point basket by Hillsboro?s Savannah Unruh with 7 seconds left gave the Trojans their first lead of the game at 16-15 as they headed to the locker room at halftime.

Hillsboro amped up its pressure in the third quarter, executing a half-court trap that vaulted the Trojans to a 25-17 lead when Tassanee Sanchez scored a traditional three-point play with 3:39 left in the quarter. Pratt pulled to within 30-25 with 1:21 left, but Alex Ratzlaff followed a traditional three-point play with a 12-foot basket in the final 53.5 seconds to give her team a 35-25 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Trojans expanded the lead to a game-high 45-27 with 4:24 left in the contest, then cruised to the victory.

Sanchez finished with 18 points and Ratzlaff 10 to pace the Trojans, but Hills?boro also got a clutch eight-point contribution from sophomore Abby Sechrist, who made all four of her shots from the floor. As a team, the Trojans shot 43 percent (18-42) while Pratt made only 11 of 40 attempts (28 percent)

BOYS — The young Trojans found themselves embroiled in one of the most grueling games of the year against a physical Pratt squad. Hillsboro maintained control in the first quarter on the way to a 13-4 lead when Darian Ratzlaff ended the quarter with a traditional three-point play.

But Pratt upped its physical game a notch and began to wear down Hills?boro on both ends of the court. At intermission the Trojans were hanging on to a 19-17 lead with momentum in Pratt?s favor.

The Trojans started the second half with a three-point basket by Braden Vogt and a two-point basket by Preston Loewen to push the margin to 24-17 at the 5:42 mark. But Hillsboro scored a mere two free throws the rest of the quarter, and when it ended, Pratt was back to within 26-23.

The Greenbacks took their first and only lead of the night when Bryce Stegman scored in the paint and Noah Tatro made a pair of free throws at the 6:30 mark. By mid-quarter, Pratt bumped the lead to 30-27 when Tatro converted a traditional three-point play with 4:36 to go.

The Trojans began to cash in on the physical nature of the game by converting eight of 10 free throws in the final 4:02, including four in a row by Loewen — two with 23.6 seconds to play, and then nailing the door shut with two more with 9.2 seconds left for a 38-32 lead. Pratt ended the game with a three-point basket in the final seconds.

Austin Cross managed 11 points to lead Hillsboro while Elias Werth and Ratzlaff each finished with nine points.

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