The Hillsboro High School basketball teams opened the new season Tuesday night with wins against a couple of quality Moundridge teams. On the opening night of the Moundridge Preseason Tournament, the Hillsboro girls prevailed by a score of 38-32 while the boys won 59-52.
GIRLS – In the girls? game, defense dominant as the Trojans, ranked No. 1 in Class 3A by the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association, and the Wildcats, ranked No. 6 in 2A, faced off for early bragging rights. Danae Bina scored Hillsboro?s first six points of the season to help the Trojans to a 10-6 lead after one quarter. Hillsboro pushed the margin to 19-11 with 1:42 left in the half after a couple of baskets by Addie Lackey. But a pair of free throws by Moundridge standout MacKenzie Suderman and a traditional three-point play by Cassidy Siemens narrowed the margin to 19-16 at intermission.
The Trojans went on a 9-0 run to start the third period with two-pointers by Erin Winter, Lackey and Christina Morris and a three from Bina. But Moundridge whittled the 28-16 deficit to 29-22 by the end of the quarter.
Hillsboro bumped its lead back to nine early in the fourth quarter, but Moundridge rallied once more to pull as close as 31-27 with 2:30 to play. But Tena Loewen scored off a steal and Maci Schlehuber added a couple of free throws to give HHS some breathing room again at 35-27. The Trojans? defense secured the victory down the stretch.
Bina finished with 13 points to pace HHS while Lackey added nine and Loewen seven. As a team, the Trojans shot just under 36 percent from the floor (15-42) while Moundridge managed just under 38 percent (12-32).
BOYS – The boys? game featured the fourth-ranked team in 3A against the sixth-ranked team in 2A. The Trojans maintained a lead for much of the night, but the outcome was in doubt until the end.
Moundridge was leading 7-4 when Shaq Thiessen drained a three-pointer and then, about 10 seconds later, stole the ball and scored on a layup, giving Hills?boro a 9-7 advantage with just under four minutes left in the first quarter. Moundridge took the lead once more on a three by Daniel Ratzlaff at the 3:39 mark. But Hillsboro shut down the home team the rest of the quarter while scoring five points for a 14-10 lead at the first break.
The Wildcats pulled to within 16-15, but a fast-break basket by Evan Ollenburger, a bucket by Josh Wiebe, a pair of free throws from Brett Weinbrenner and a basket by Thiessen gave Hills?boro an 8-3 surge to end the half with a 24-18 lead.
A 6-1 surge to start the third quarter put Hillsboro up by 11 at 30-19, but Moundridge cut the deficit to 30-25 within three minutes. Three-pointers from Thiessen and Harry Faber helped Hillsboro to a 40-31 lead by the end of the period.
HHS built its largest lead to 44-31 early in the final period, but the Wildcats again clawed their way back into contention, thanks in part to two three-point baskets by Tyler Kaufman within a 32-second span. Ratzlaff followed with two-pointer to close the margin to 46-41 with 4:45 to play. But Thiessen scored five points and Weinbrenner four down the stretch to nail down the win.
Thiessen used some outstanding moves along the way to finish with 23 points. Ollenburger added 10 points and Wein?brenner nine. As team, Hillsboro shot a healthy 49 percent (18-46) from the floor and made 10 of 14 free throws while limiting Moundridge to 39 percent (18-46) field-goal shooting. The Wildcats made nine of 15 free throws.
Tuesday?s outcome puts both Trojan teams at 1-0 and the Moundridge teams at 1-1 for the season. Hillsboro will take on Inman Thursday in the round-robin format. The girls will play at 4 p.m. and the boys at 5:30 p.m. The starting times will be the same Friday when Hillsboro takes on Lyons in the final round.