Hillsboro?s undefeated basketball teams had mixed results in their first official Central Kansas League games of the season. In what was anticipated as probably the toughest challenge of the night, the Hillsboro girls preserved their perfect season (8-0) by beating a talented Green?back squad, 46-38. The Trojan boys led a 1-4 Pratt team by seven points at halftime, but the home team prevailed in the end, 48-47, when Hillsboro?s last-second shot just missed the mark.
? GIRLS — The Trojans fell behind early against the 4-1 Greenback girls, trailing 6-2 and then 11-4 with a minute left in the first period. But in the final 33 seconds, Alex Ratzlaff scored a two-point basket, Danae Bina completed a traditional three-point play, and Addie Lackey nailed a three-point shot at the buzzer to vault the Trojans into the lead, 12-11.
In a close battle between two teams that excel at pressure defense, points were hard to come by in the second period. But Pratt regained the lead at 20-18 when their all-league performer, Jenson Maydew, scored with 2:04 left in the half. Once again the Trojans rallied late with a two-pointer from Lackey and a three-pointer from Bina to give Hillsboro a 23-20 lead intermission.
In the third quarter, Pratt tied the game at 27 on a three by Amy Olson, then tied it again at 29 before Lackey scored on a steal and Bina drove the lane for a basket to give Hillsboro a slim 33-31 lead heading into the final quarter.
Maydew tied the game a final time at 31 to start the final quarter. But Hillsboro slowly but surely built a lead down the stretch with Bina and Lackey scoring all 13 of the Trojans? points on the way to the eight-point victory.
For the game, Bina and Lackey each finished with 19 points and Ratzlaff finished with eight to round out Hills?boro?s scoring.
? BOYS — You could credit the Pratt defense or blame a sub-par offensive performance by Hills?boro, but the Trojans boys struggled all night to establish some rhythm to their offense. In the end it cost them their undefeated season.
Hillsboro grabbed a 4-0 lead at the start, but by the end of the first period, Pratt had scrapped its way into the lead at 13-11 by scoring two baskets in the final 14 seconds.
The Trojans played their best basketball in the second period, limiting Pratt to only two field goals while Brett Weinbrenner and Jordan Faul drained three-pointers. Christian Ratzlaff capped the scoring by draining all three free throws after he was fouled on a shot from behind the arc with 1:05 left in the half.
Hillsboro led at intermission, 28-21, and seemed ready to take control of the game.
But as the third period started, it became obvious Pratt was not about to roll over. Driving aggressively to the hoop on almost every possession — with decent success — the Greenbacks cut the lead to 34-33 with 2:30 left in the period.
Weinbrenner then drained a three-pointer and later scored off a steal to push the lead back to six. But one more Pratt basket on a drive in the paint with 46 seconds left cut the margin to 39-35 at the final break.
The fourth quarter became a free-throw battle. After making nine of nine free throws in the first half and 11 of 13 through three quarters, the Trojans cooled off at the worst time, struggling to make five of 10 down the stretch.
Trailing 47-43 with 48.9 seconds to play and Pratt?s Derek Barnard standing at the free-throw line with a chance to put the game away, the Trojans needed a break.
And they got one. Barnard missed the front end, and Hillsboro grabbed the rebound. The Trojans missed two shots on goal, but Ratzlaff rebounded once more and was fouled. He made the first free throw but the official waved off the second one when Ratzlaff?s foot crossed the line.
With 21.2 seconds to go, Pratt?s Brandon Ruckle stood at the free-throw line with a chance to expand Pratt?s 47-44 lead. But he missed the front end of a one-and-one, Hillsboro rebounded and then Micah Allen drained a dramatic three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 47.
But after the inbounds pass after the basket, Jordan Faul was called for a blocking foul in the backcourt as Pratt?s Jacob Kurz dribbled hard down the sideline. With 4.3 seconds left, Kurz made only one of two free throws, giving Hillsboro a chance to win the game.
Following a timeout, Wein?brenner pushed the ball up the court and got off a makeable shot along the lane as the buzzer sounded, but the shot hit the rim and bounced off.
Ratzlaff led the Trojans with 17 points — scoring all but three in the first half. Weinbrenner added 16 for the 7-1 Trojans.
NEXT — Hillsboro will host Sterling on Tuesday in what promises to be another tough matchup for the Trojan girls — both teams are ranked at or near the top of Class 2A. The Trojans then travel to Nickerson for their final games before the Trojan Classic the following week.