Both Hillsboro basketball teams opened play in the Trojan Classic Tuesday with victories in the first round. The girls led Winfield by 20 points by halftime and cruised to a 59-43 victory, while the boys played a complete game on both ends of the court and defeated a taller and talented Wamego squad, 54-42.
The HHS girls will face No. 5-seeded Thomas More Prep at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the semifinals while the HHS boys will face top-seeded Riley County at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
Hillsboro?s defensive pressure contributed to 14 Winfield turnovers in the first quarter on the way to a 14-4 lead at the break.
Callie Serene then teed off the second quarter with the first of three three-pointers she hit during the period. When she hit her third one at the 3:00 mark, she ignited a 10-4 run that carried HHS to a 35-15 margin at halftime. In addition to Serene?s nine points by halftime, Tena Loewen and Addie Lackey each added seven.
The Trojans seemed to gear it down a notch in the second half. Winfield got off to a 7-0 burst in the first 1:12 of third period. The Vikings got as close as 11 points when McKenzie Thiel sank a pair of free throws at the 1:02 mark. Serene ended the quarter with a bucket in the lane to give HHS a 44-31 margin at the final break.
In the fourth quarter, Lackey contributed six points as Hills?boro pushed its lead back to 18 in the final minutes of the game.
Lackey finished with 16 points, Serene added 12 and Loewen 11 to pace the Trojans, who improved to 10-1 with the win. Loewen also pulled down 11 rebounds.
As a team, HHS shot 35 percent (20-57) from the floor. Winfield actually shot the better percentage at 41 percent, but put up 15 fewer shots thanks in part to 26 turnovers.
Hillsboro came out with an intensity that lasted four quarters as they out-hustled and even outshot (39 percent to 36 percent) a taller and athletic Wamego squad.
The Trojans got points from six players on the way to a 13-8 lead after one quarter. The trend continued into the second quarter as four players each scored one time, but it was enough for Hillsboro to go into the locker room with a 22-16 lead at halftime.
Hillsboro expanded the lead to 13 points in the third quarter when Tyrell Thiessen joined the scoring parade with a bucket at the 4:04 mark. Wamego responded with a 5-0 surge over the next three minutes, but Christian Ratzlaff scored a layup off a steal with 11 seconds left in the quarter, then ended it with a half-court basket at the buzzer to give the Trojans a 36-27 advantage heading into the final frame.
Wamego got as close as seven points twice during that period, the last time at the 3:28 mark. But Hillsboro never wilted, getting points from five different players in the final 1:58 to seal a true team victory.
Hamm and Ratzlaff led the scoring with 11 points a piece. Caleb Hilliard had a big night with eight points — including the last three in the final 39 seconds. Josh Wiebe contributed six points, Ben Bebermeyer five, Jesse Allen and Thiessen four each, Brett Weinbrenner three and Aaron Klassen two.
The win boosts the Trojans to 6-5 for the season.