The Hillsboro girls opened state tournament play Wednesday with a strong performance, but in the end the undefeated No. 2 seed from Jefferson County North slipped past the No. 7 seeded Trojans, 53-50, in Manhattan.
The Trojans, who led by five points at halftime, still led as late as 1:24 left in the game after Addie Lackey sank a pair of free throws for a 47-46 advantage. After JCN?s Jacee Kramer responded with a pair of free throws 11 seconds later, the Trojans? Maddie Duerksen went to the foul line with a one-and-one opportunity with exactly one minute to play. Her first shot bounced off the rim and the Chargers rebounded. Following a JCN timeout, Jamie Navinskey hit a pair of free throws for the Chargers with 37 seconds to play. After Duerksen missed a three-point shot, the Chargers rebounded and sank two more free throws, this time by Mallory Kramer with 10.7 seconds left for a seemingly insurmountable 52-47 lead.
But Hillsboro didn?t surrender. Danae Bina drained a three-point shot with just under 3 seconds left, and JCN called a timeout with 2.1 seconds to go. On the inbounds play, Bina fouled Jacee Kramer, who made one of two free throws with 0.7 seconds left. Lackey took the inbounds pass and threw a desperate heave toward the basket from three-quarters-court away…but there was no miracle finish for Hillsboro.
Both teams came out tight playing in cavernous Bramlage Coliseum on the Kansas State campus. The two teams combined for five straight misses before Jenna Kramer scored for Jefferson County at the 5:43 mark of the first quarter.
After another JCN basket bumped the lead to 4-0, Bina went on an offensive tear, scoring all 10 of Hillsboro?s points during a 10-3 run that pulled the Trojans to within 11-10 with 2:03 left. Mallory Kramer countered with a basket, but a lay-in and a free throw by Lackey tied the score at 13 as the period ended.
That set up Hillsboro for its best stretch of the night. With JCN leading 15-13, Alex Ratzlaff hit a pair of free throws at the 6:05 mark that ignited a 10-2 Hillsboro run capped by a Lackey basket at 4:02 for a 23-17 lead. Baskets by Ratzlaff and Lackey contributed to a 27-22 Trojan lead at intermission.
Led by Lackey?s 13 points in the third quarter, the Trojans led 41-37 at the final break. But a 7-0 run by the Chargers within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter changed the momentum of the game. Ratzlaff then scored two more baskets, which set up the final 1:24.
Lackey led all scorers with 26 points, Bina added 15 and Ratzlaff 9 to account for all of Hillsboro?s scoring. Jacee Kramer led the Chargers with 22 points, Navinskey added 15 and Mallory Kramer 10.
The Trojans finish with a record of 18-6 as seniors Lackey, Bina, Duerksen and Courtney Troyer conclude their high school careers. Jefferson County North advances into the semifinals on Friday with a 24-0 record.