In a game that was more workman-like than work of art, the Hillsboro girls claimed a 36-23 victory at Haven Tuesday. The Trojan boys, meanwhile, took it on the chin once more, losing to the home team 53-36.
In the early going, the Trojan girls looked like they?d stick a lickin? on a pretty decent Haven squad, pushing to a 9-0 lead after Candace Weinbrenner completed a traditional three-point play with 1:27 left in the opening period.
But Haven stepped up with five points in the final 26 seconds of the period — a 3-pointer by Sheridan Stefanski followed by two free throws after she was fouled as she tossed up a shot at the buzzer.
The second quarter started well enough for Hillsboro when Dakota Kaufman scored 15 seconds into it. But the Trojans hit a bumpy stretch of three turnovers and 0-for-3 shooting while Haven warmed up with an 8-0 surge that carried them into the lead at 13-11 with 4:36 left in the half. Baskets by Hillsboro?s Tena Loewen and Becky Faber proved to be the only points either team scored the rest of the way to halftime, and the Trojans took a 15-13 lead into the locker room.
The two teams played almost evenly in the third period, which ended with Hillsboro nudging the lead to 24-20. But the Trojans lowered the boom defensively in the final period, allowing Haven only one basket in eight shots. That was enough to enable Hillsboro to push the final margin to 13 points at the end.
The win boosts Hillsboro?s record to 12-4 with 12 wins in the past 13 games. They were assured of at least a tie atop the MCAA at 7-0. Haven dropped to 8-8 and 3-4.
Kaufman led all scorers with 15 points while Stefanski finished with 11 to pace Haven. As a team, Hillsboro shot 39 percent from the floor (14-36) while limiting the Wildcats to 22 percent success (8-36).
Haven held a clear edge in team height and athleticism, but the Trojans gave the Wildcats everything they could handle through the first half of Tuesday?s game.
The scoring went back and forth into the second quarter, but after Daniel Dick drained a 3-pointer with 6:41 left in the first half to pull Hillsboro to within 16-15, the Trojan arsenal went silent until Caleb Hilliard popped a 3-pointer with 1:36 to go. Haven responded with one more basket to carry a 25-18 lead into halftime.
Haven made a move in the opening minutes of the third quarter, launching a 9-2 surge, including seven consecutive points by Ridge Foster, before Ethan Frantz broke the charm with a put-back at the 3:27 mark.
Unfortunately, Hillsboro didn?t score again until Frantz added a basket in the paint with seven seconds left in the period to make the score 40-24 at the break.
One the verge of a knockout, the Trojans battled back on grit and fumes and got as close as 44-34 when Ben Bebermeyer scored with 4:54 left to play. But Hillsboro managed only one more basket the rest of the way, enabling Haven to extend its margin at the end.
Bebermeyer led Hillsboro with 10 points. As a team the Trojans made 34 percent of their field-goal attempts (14-41), including six 3-pointers. Haven made 50 percent (19-38) from the floor with four 3-pointer, but held a clear edge in free throws, 11-16 versus 2-8 for Hillsboro.
Ridge Foster paced Haven with 19 points, but Devin Callon had the memorable shot of the night when he nailed a half-court heave as the third-quarter buzzer sounded.
The win pushed Haven to 10-6 and 5-2 while Hillsboro dropped to 2-14 overall and the Trojans are still looking for a league win after seven attempts.
(Free Press photos by Don Ratzlaff)