Hillsboro girls will play for the Trojan Classic championship

Defense plowed the path to the championship game of the Trojan Classic for the Hillsboro girls, as the Trojans smothered Hesston, 42-37, in their semifinal face off on Thursday night.

Trailing 17-14 at the half, Hesston scored four quick points to take its first and last lead of the night, 18-17. But the Swathers managed only four field goals the rest of the game as Hillsboro took control in a game that stayed relatively close. By the end of the third period, Hillsboro led only by five, 27-22. But a 12-2 run by the Trojans over the first 5:30 of the final period cemented the victory.

At the start of the game, the Trojans streaked out of the starting gate with a 10-1 run through the first four minutes, making all four of the shots they took from the field — three by Dakota Kaufman — and both free throws. But the scoring suddenly dried up for both teams the final half of the period as Hillsboro maintained a 10-1 advantage at the break.

The second quarter flipped Hesston?s way after Kaufman opened with a basket 30 seconds in. Mallory Schroeder, the Swathers? leading scorer for the season, drained a 3-pointer at the 7:07 mark to ignite a 10-5 surge that pulled Hesston to within three points at halftime.

Kaufman finished with 19 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor to pace the Trojans, who improved to 8-3 for the year with their eighth straight win. Hesston dropped to 9-2, with both losses coming at the hands of Hillsboro in three matchups this season.

Hillsboro made nearly 49 percent of its shots (18-37) while holding Hesston to under 24 percent shooting (9-38). Hillsboro didn?t launch a single 3-point attempt while Hesston threw up 14 and made two. The Swathers did hold an advantage at the free line, going 15-23 while Hillsboro made six in only 11 attempts.

The Trojans will face off for the title at 6:30 p.m. Saturday against Thomas More Prep, who slipped past Marion, 61-55, in overtime earlier on Thursday night.

(Free photos by Brad Wiseman)

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