Hillsboro’s basketball teams endured a humbling start to the home stretch of their season Tuesday, losing both games convincingly at Council Grove. The Trojans girls, facing the No. 3 ranked team in Class 3A, were smothered by the undefeated Braves, 76-20. The Hillsboro boys, ranked No. 9 in Class 2A, started well but unraveled as the game went along, losing to the home team, 69-51.
GIRLS — Facing off against an athletic, veteran, sharp-shooting bunch of Braves, the Trojans didn’t have a reasonable expectation of an upset. Council Grove scored two baskets in the in the first minute before Paige Proffitt scored in the paint. The Trojans didn’t score a second basket until nearly two minutes into the second quarter. Savannah Unruh scored off a rare fast break to make the score 27-9 at the 6:07 mark. By the time the half ended, Council Grove was leading, 42-13.
The Braves opened the second half with a 13-0 run to inflate lead to 55-13 before Sienna Kaufman scored Hillsboro’s first basket of the half at the 4:59 mark. By the end of the quarter, the score was 64-17.
Playing subs vs. subs in the final quarter didn’t help Hillsboro much, as the home-team reserves outscored the Trojans, 13-3, for the final 56-point spread.
Council Grove put on a shooting clinic, hitting just under 70 percent of their attempts (32-46) for the game — including the fourth quarter against reserves.
Council Grove improved to 14-0 for the season while the Trojans slipped to 5-9.
BOYS — The Trojans started strong against the 9-4 Braves, building a 21-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. They led by as many as nine points, 24-15, when Darian Ratzlaff drilled a three-point shot from the top of the key at the 6:53 mark.
Then suddenly, somebody flipped a switch. Over the next two minutes, the Braves went on a 8-0 run to pull within a point at 24-23. Hillsboro was never quite the same team after that, struggling with poor shooting and making uncharacteristic turnovers. It enabled Council Grove to take a 35-31 halftime lead on 13-for-19 field goal accuracy for the first two quarters.
Rather than regrouping, the Trojans were almost unrecognizable during the second half. Hillsboro missed its first seven shots, including four threes, while Council Grove drained two threes and a two-pointer in four attempts.
By the end of the third quarter, the home team built a 49-40 lead even though they scored only two field goals during the final 4:39. The Braves poured salt on the wound by winning the fourth-quarter by a 20-11 margin.
Joe Knoll was the only recognizable Trojan offensively, coming off the bench to score a team-high 16 points.
The loss drops Hillsboro to 11-3 for the season while the Braves improved to 10-4.
COMING—Hillsboro will make the long trip to Pratt on Friday to take on the Greenbacks.