Hillsboro welcomed Pratt to Brown Gymna?sium for the time ever on Friday, and ended up splitting their league openers with the Greenbacks.
On this night, it was the undefeated Trojan girls who came up short, losing a defensive faceoff, 36-31, while the Trojan boys shattered a recent scoring drought with a 65-50 blitz of the visitors.
The girls? game was showdown of two teams who love to play pressure defense. For the Trojans, the experience seemed unsettling as they struggled to shoot 29 percent from the field for the night (10 for 35). Pratt?s 32 percent from the floor (15-47) was just enough to give the Green?backs the edge.
Hillsboro didn?t score until Allie Faul drained a three-pointer at the 4:24 mark of the opening period. She added a two-pointer less than a minute later and Callie Serene followed with a three at the 2:58 mark to carry HHS to an 8-6 lead at the end of the quarter — despite committing seven turnovers along the way. Hillsboro?s pressure limited Prat to 2-for-12 shooting and contributed to six Greenback errors.
Hillsboro nudged its lead to 11-7 on a basket and free throw by Elise Heyen near the midway mark of the second quarter. But a three-pointer from the top of the key by Pratt?s Cheyene Eisenhour sparked her team to a 17-17 tie at intermission.
The game turned on a scoring drought by the Trojans in the second where HHS did not score a field goal for nearly 12 minutes. Tena Loewen hit the last one for Hillsboro 30 seconds into the third quarter, then broke the drought with a bucket in the paint at the 4:38 mark of the final period. By that point, Hillsboro was trailing 28-22.
After Pratt pushed the lead to 30-22, the Trojans awoke from their offensive slumber, countering consecutive Pratt turnovers with two free throws by Addie Lackey, a three-pointer from Serene and a basket and foul on a rebound by Loewen. Loewen missed the bonus free throw that would have tied the game at 30 with 2:03 to go.
Pratt responded with baskets by Jenson Maydew and Aubrey Hoover to regain momentum down the stretch and hold on for the six-point victory.
Serene finished with 10 points to lead HHS, who dropped to 7-1 overall an 0-1 in the Central Kansas League. Pratt improve to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the league.
The Trojans boys rose from the ashes of their most disappointing performance of the season against Halstead on Tuesday and posted their best offensive game of the year against Pratt.
But it didn?t look that way at the start. Hillsboro missed seven of its first eight shots. Fortunately, the defense held the Greenbacks to three points during that stretch.
A layup by Ben Bebermeyer at the 1:33 mark inexplicably lit a fuse for the Trojans. Brett Weinbrenner followed with a three-pointer with 1:01 left in the quarter and Bebermeyer ended the scoring by converting two of three free throws after he was fouled on a three-point attempt at the buzzer. The charities put HHS ahead at the first break, 9-6.
That spurt was merely a foretaste of what was to come in the second quarter. Hillsboro exploded for 23 points in an impressive display of hustle, ball movement and dead-eye shooting.
Christian Ratzlaff started the fun with a three-pointer at the 6:35 mark. Jarod Hamm contributed back-to-back threes on either side of the 2:40 mark, and then Bebermeyer hit a fourth three with 1:54 left in the period.
Meanwhile, Caleb Hilliard scored two driving layups off the fast break and Weinbrenner chipped in a 12-foot jumper as the Trojans rolled to a 32-21 halftime lead.
The Trojans didn?t shrivel in the second half. With Ratzlaff tossing in 10 points, including two more three-pointers, Hillsboro put 19 more points on the board by the final break. Pratt stayed in contention on the three-point shooting of Matt Swank, who countered with three long-range bombs in the final 4:23 of the quarter.
Two unanswered buckets by Pratt in the opening minute of the final quarter closed the margin to nine points. But baskets by Weinbrenner, Bebermeyer (plus a bonus free throw) and Hilliard gave Hillsboro its largest lead of the night at 58-43.
The Greenbacks responded with a brief 5-0 run, but the Trojans nailed down the win with a 7-2 spurt at the end.
The Trojans got key contributions from a variety of players, including nine players in the scoring column. Weinbrenner finished with a team-high 16 points while Bebermeyer and Ratzlaff added 14 each. Hamm chipped in eight points and Hilliard six as HHS?improved to 4-3 for the season and 1-0 in league play. Pratt dropped to 2-4 and 0-2.