Hillsboro girls still unbeaten in league after makeup win vs. Hoisington

For the Hillsboro High girls’ basketball team, it was a game worth waiting for as the Trojans put together perhaps their best wire-to-wire performance of the season in a 55-33 win against Hoisington in a makeup home game Thursday that was twice postponed because of weather.

The Trojan girls remain undefeated in league play at 5-0 and hit double-digit victories for the season at 10-4. Hoisington dropped to 1-4 and 8-6.

The Hillsboro boys, meanwhile, got off to a poor shooting start but pulled themselves together to challenge for a victory. But a late implosion enabled Hoisington to post a 53-43 win.

In the girls? game, Hoisington actually posted a 5-2 lead through the first 2:30 of the contest. But a pair of free-throws by Dakota Kaufman with 5:07 left in the period ignited an 11-7 surge that propelled the Trojans into a 13-12 lead at the first break.

Hoisington scored first in the second quarter before Hillsboro took the lead for good on a 17-foot basket by Candace Weinbrenner at the 5:16 mark. That shot lit a 14-0 run and a 16-2 finish to the quarter that put Hillsboro ahead 29-16 at halftime.

The Trojans? persistent pressure at both ends of the court only increased in the second half as Hoisington was shut out until Reba Hickel scored with 3:01 left in the quarter. The period ended with Hillsboro comfortably in front and in control at 38-19.

The Trojans saved their best offensive quarter for last, pushing the lead to 53-25 before coach Nathan Hiebert pulled his starters with 3:13 to play.

The fuel that powered the Trojan victory was turnovers — the defense forced 28 while the offense committed only 10, resulting in a 25-6 advantage in points off turnovers.

Dakota Kaufman scored a game-high 17 to pace the Trojans on what might be considered, for her, an off shooting night (7-16 from the field). But Weinbrenner?s 12-point outburst was a major boost on the offensive end.

As a team Hillsboro shot 42 percent (24-57) from the floor while Hoisington shot a respectable 39 percent (15-39), but put up 18 fewer shots in large part because of turnovers.

In the boys? game, an 0-for-8 shooting start put the Trojans into a 10-3 hole after one quarter. But Hillsboro picked up it game in the second quarter to keep the margin about even at halftime, 20-14, after to pulling to within 16-14 when Jesse Allen scored on a drive to the basket with 2:25 left.

Hillsboro finally caught the Cardinals at 22-22 when Ethan Frantz completed a traditional three-point play at the 5:21 mark of the third period, then did it again at 24-24 when Frantz scored added another bucket with 3:45 left.

But then Hoisington delivered a haymaker: two 3-point baskets by Derrick Kaiser and a traditional three-point play by Jeremy Smith over a span of 36 seconds. Suddenly, after a gallant scrap to pull even, the Trojans, seemingly in a blink of an eye, trailed by nine, 33-24, with 2:41 left in the period. The score at the last break was 36-29.

The final turning point came late in the game. Ben Bebermeyer made the first of two free throws, giving Hillsboro a chance to close the gap to four points with 3:44 to go But Bebermeyer missed the second charity and Brady Demel responded for Hoisington with a 3-pointer moments later. Three Trojan turnovers and two missed shots later, Hoisington had pushed the lead to 51-38 with less than 1:30 to play to guarantee the win.

After the 0-for-8 start, the Trojans shot nearly 54 percent the rest of the game. But 20 turnovers (versus 10 for Hoisington) proved to be their undoing. Bebermeyer contributed on both ends of that spectrum, leading Hillsboro with 13 points but also with seven turnovers. Allen chipped in 10 point for the Trojans, who dropped to 2-12 for the year and 0-5 in league play.

Kaiser finished with 21 points to pace Hoisington (8-6, 2-3).

The Trojan teams will climb into the bus tomorrow afternoon for regularly scheduled games at Sterling. The girls face a Black Bear team that is 1-4 and 5-9 while the boys match up with squad that is 0-5 and 7-7.

(Free Press photos by Don Ratzlaff)

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