The Hillsboro and Marion basketball teams followed tournament week with an intra-county showdown Tuesday at Marion. Hillsboro came away with a pair of victories. The girls prevailed, 54-30, while the boys nailed down a 45-37 victory. The sweep marked the first night since the first week of the season that both Hillsboro teams won on the same night.
GIRLS — Hillsboro established a lead early in the game and slowly expanded it through the first quarter. When Marion?s Marshelle Mermis hit a pair of free throws and Bailey Robson immediately scored off a Hillsboro turnover, the Warriors were to within 13-10 with 2:40 to go. A basket by Hillsboro?s Darcy Heinrichs established a 15-10 margin at the first break.
The second quarter was the turning point in the game. Marion struggled from the floor, missing all 10 of its field goal attempts, but made three of five free throws. Meanwhile, Alex Ratzlaff scored seven points, Rebecca Kaufman hit a three and a two while Mesa Merrell did the same in the final 45 seconds of the half to vault the Trojans into a 34-13 halftime lead.
Marion?s offense continued to struggle into the third quarter, enabling Hillsboro to build a 42-15 lead by the 4:52 mark on a three by Marah Franz followed by a three and two from Ratzlaff, giving her 18 points for the night.
With the score 51-20 at the start of the fourth quarter, the rest of the game was played with a running clock. That seemed to work in Marion?s favor, as the Warriors outscored the Trojans 10-1 over the final seven minutes to tighten the spread to 54-30 before the buzzer sounded.
With the win, Hillsboro raised its record to 5-8 while Marion slipped to 6-7.
BOYS — The third quarter has been a frequent challenge struggle this season for Hillsboro, but this time it led to a game-changing 20-12 effort versus Marion.
Hillsboro capitalized on its defensive pressure to build a 14-4 lead through the first quarter, which ended with a traditional three-point play by Micah Allen to give HHS the double-digit edge.
But Marion did not yield. A combination of the Warriors? effort on the defensive end, combined with some chilly shooting by the Trojans (1-for-8 from the field) enabled Marion to close the gap to three points as the first half ended, 18-15.
Marion opened the second half with a traditional three-point play by Nicholas Stuchlik to tie the game 19 seconds in. Hillsboro?s Austin Cross hit a pair of free throws at the other end before Jack Schneider hit two of three charities after he was fouled on a short behind the arc.
With the score tied at 22, the Trojans took over. Braden Vogt?s basket at the 6:47 mark ignited an 11-0 Hillsboro run that ended on a basket by Cross off a nice feed from Elias Werth with 2:45 left in the period. The two teams traded points the rest of the quarter, which ended with Hillsboro ahead, 38-27.
After Allen started the fourth-quarter scoring with a three, Marion turned the tide on the Trojans and slowly built 7-0 run over a span of 5:11 before Josh Funk scored for Hillsboro at the 1:35 mark to make the score 43-34. The Trojans held on for the eight-point victory.
Hillsboro improved to 8-5 with the win while Marion slipped to 2-11. The Trojans have the rest of the week off while Marion travels to Council Grove on Friday.