Hillsboro teams split games at Nickerson to open CKL play

Hillsboro opened Central Kansas League play with games at Nickerson Tuesday night. The Trojan girls encountered a Panther squad that was athletic, tall and experienced — and came up on the short end of a 60-40 game. Meanwhile, the Trojan boys pulled away late in their game for a 66-44 victory.

GIRLS—Nickerson blitzed the Trojans with an 8-2 start in the first 3:30 and never really was threatened the rest of the way. By the end of the first quarter, Nickerson established a 16-6 lead and by halftime the Panthers expanded their lead to 36-19.

Nickerson’s 6-2 start in the second half doubled up the Trojans, 42-21, with 2:43 left in the third quarter. By the end of the quarter, the score was 49-26. Hillsboro finished strong, winning the fourth quarter, 14-11, for the game’s final 20-point margin.

Sienna Kaufman was the shining light for Hillsboro. The senior scored 19 points to lead the Trojans, who were outmanned physically, both height and athleticism. Morgan Stout, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, and Sophie Mader, a 6-0 senior, combined for 22 and 16 points, respectively.

With their first league loss, the Trojan girls slip to 4-3 for the season.

BOYS—With Wes Shaw fueling the Trojans with six points, the Trojans managed a 14-12 lead after one quarter when Caleb Rempel hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left.

By halftime, Hillsboro nudged its lead 27-20, with Shaw scoring four more points and Caleb Potucek adding a 3-point basket. Potucek added a traditional 3-point play with 2:48 left in the quarter to give him seven points by halftime and the Trojans a 27-20 lead at intermission.

In the second half, the Trojans began to click offensively, with an 8-2 spurt in the first 1:22 of the third quarter for a 35-22 lead barely 2 minutes in. Darian Ratzlaff found his scoring touch at that point, scoring nine points in the period for a 47-34 Hillsboro lead

Nickerson made on last 7-2 surge as the fourth quarter began. Panther fans were hoping for more points, but instead the Trojans delivered the knock-out blow with a 15-0 run over a 2:18 stretch. Shaw contributed two points, Ratzlaff four, Elias Werth seven and Potucek two for a 64-41 lead with 3:02 to play.

Ratzlaff finished with 17 points, Shaw 14, Werth 13, Potucek 11.

With the win, the Hills­boro boys, ranked 10th in Class 2A, improved to 6-1 for the season.

COMING—The Trojans will make the long trip to Larned on Friday to take on the Indians in another CKL encounter.