Hillsboro girls claim fifth place at Trojan Classic

The Hillsboro girls led from start to finish against Sunrise Academy to earn their second consecutive win and a fifth-place finish Saturday with a 44-29 victory at the Trojan Classic in Hillsboro.

Mesa Merrell scored 18 seconds into the game and Sienna Kaufman added a basket two minutes later for a 4-0 lead. Abby Sechrist scored one basket and Trinity Malm added back-to-back scores at mid-quarter for a 10-3 lead. Sunrise managed a basket in the final second for a 10-5 tally at the end of the quarter.

The Trojans opened the second quarter with a 6-0 surge in the first four minutes. Sienna Kaufman and Savannah Unruh each nailed a three-point basket down the stretch to give Hillsboro a 22-11 lead at intermission.

The Trojans enjoyed their biggest lead of the night at 33-17 when Merrell scored on a drive to the basket. Sunrise responded with a traditional three-point play for a 33-20 score after three complete quarters.

In the fourth quarter, the Buffaloes got as close as 10 points with just under six minutes left in the game. But Hillsboro made six of 10 free-throws over the final 2:51 to secure the victory.

The Trojans, now 5-8 for the season, were led by Rebecca Kaufman, who scored 11 points coming off a 12-point contribution the night before. Sienna Kaufman added nine points and Merrell seven. The Trojans shot 35 percent (16-46) from the floor compared to 18 percent (8-44) for Sunrise. The Buffaloes held a thin edge at the free-throw line, making 13 of 17, while the Trojans made nine of 15.

Hillsboro will take a one-week break from competition before returning to action Jan. 31 at Council Grove.

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