Three days after sweeping Hoisington, the Hillsboro basketball teams had their hands full Friday against Haven on their home court.
The Trojan girls actually led Haven, the No. 1 ranked team in Class 3A, 27-25 at halftime. Haven regrouped during intermission and showed their skills by defeating Hillsboro, 59-41.
The Trojan boys didn’t look like much like the team that dominated Hoisington on Tuesday, but the home team rallied in the fourth quarter to pull out a 63-53 win against an athletic Wildcat squad.
GIRLS—Hillsboro showed its potential future by playing perhaps its best half of the season—in all aspects of the game. Passes were on target and timely, shot selection was solid and their defense against a more athletic team was impressive.
At the end of the first quarter, the two teams were tied at 15 when Haven rallied for three baskets in the final 40 seconds after trailing 15-9.
The second quarter had a similar ending. When Abby Sechrist scored at the 2:06 mark, Hillsboro led 27-20. But Haven rallied again, scoring a basket in the paint with 15 seconds left, then drawing a foul on a 3-point shot at the buzzer. Haven’s Emmiley Hendrixson made all three free throws to pull her team within two points at 27-25.
The magic may have evaporated over intermission, as the Trojans struggled mightily in the third quarter. Sechrist hit a 3-pointer at the 6:35 mark, but it was Hillsboro’s only field goal of the quarter. The Trojans ended the quarter with 1-for-10 shooting. When Hendrixson hit a three with 8 seconds left, the Wildcats enjoyed a 45-31 lead.
The fourth quarter wasn’t much better for the home team. Hillsboro managed 10 points, but surrendered 14 to give Haven their 18-point final margin.
Hendrixson finished with 20 points with Faith Paramore adding 14 points. Ten Wildcats scored before the game was over. As a team, Haven shot 34 percent (21-61) from the field.
Hillsboro was led by senior guard Sienna Kaufman, who scored 13 points, and Teegan Werth, who scored 10. Second-half shooting woes left the Trojans with 26 percent success for the game.
The loss drops Hillsboro to 6-4 for the season and 1-2 in the league. Haven remains undefeated for the season.
BOYS—Perhaps it was simply a letdown after Tuesday’s emotional win giving coach Darrel Knoll his 500th career victory, but the team that took the floor Friday against Haven didn’t seem to be the same one. Three-for-11 shooting from the field, combined with six turnovers, helped the Wildcats establish a 13-6 lead after one quarter.
The Trojans trailed by as much as 19-12 in the second quarter with 4:03 left, but regained their composure enough to launch an 8-2 run in the final 2:42 to pull within one point of the visitors at the buzzer, 21-20.
When Haven started the third quarter with back-to-back 3-point baskets, the Trojans were down, 27-20. Darian Ratzlaff responded with a 3-pointer and Brodie Rathbone added a 2-pointer 30 seconds later for a 27-25 deficit. Haven refused to fold. When Thane Unruh scored in the paint with four seconds left in the quarter, the Wildcats enjoyed a 43-37 lead.
Hillsboro turned the tide in the final quarter. Baskets by Werth, Ratzlaff and Wes Shaw tied the score at 43 with 5:43 left to play, igniting a thunderous ovation by the Hillsboro fans.
After Haven’s Jamar Miller made one of two free throws at the 5:30 mark, Hillsboro’s Caleb Potucek hit a huge 3-pointer 19 seconds later to give the Trojans a 46-44 lead. Caleb Rempel added two free throws, Werth one free throw before Potucek hit another huge 3-pointer from the wing for a 52-44 Trojan lead with 3:11 to play.
Once again Haven rallied, this time to within 55-51 with 51.8 seconds remaining. But Hillsboro drained seven of eight free throws in the final 49.5 seconds to carry the team to a 63-53 victory.
Team stats were pretty similar for both teams except for rebounding, where Haven held a 40-28 advantage. On the flip side, Hillsboro had the edge by forcing 23 turnovers while committing 12, and they registered 13 steals to Haven’s seven.
Werth led Hillsboro’s with 14 points but on 4-for-11 shooting. Wes Shaw added 11 points and Potucek and Ratzlaff 10 each.
The win improves Hillsboro’s record to 9-1 for the season and 4-0 in league play while Haven slipped to 2-1 and 5-3.
COMING—The Hillsboro boys will begin play at the Trojan Classic on Monday against Sunrise Academy (7-4) with a 7 p.m. tip-off.
The Trojan girls will play Sunrise girls (9-4) Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be played in Brown Gymnasium.