Poor starts end Trojans’ regular season with disappointment at Haven

Poor starts turned out to be the undoing of both Hillsboro basketball teams in their regular-season finale at Haven on Tuesday. The Hillsboro girls, playing for at least a share of the league title, trailed by double digits through much of the middle quarters before making a fourth-quarter charge that fell short in the end, 43-39. Likewise, the boys trailed by 17 points at halftime and by 21 after three quarters before closing the gap in the fourth quarter to six points in the final minute before dropping a 59-51 decision to the Wildcats.

GIRLS? GAME

Hillsboro played uninspired basketball for three quarters. The Wildcats were a half step ahead of the Trojans on both ends of the court on the way to a 13-4 lead after one quarter and a 21-11 margin by halftime.

When Haven?s Ashley Rogers followed Rachel Miller?s two-point basket with a three-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter, Haven enjoyed its biggest lead of the night at 30-17. Addie Lackey?s basket with 37 seconds left cut the margin to 30-19 by the end of the quarter.

Lackey, the only Trojan displaying much assertiveness on offense, started the fourth quarter with a traditional three-point play in the first seven seconds. Hillsboro?s deficit was back to 13 at 35-22 when Taylor Boese hit a three-pointer with 5:42 to go. But a three by Allie Faul a minute later sparked an 11-3 surge capped by Callie Serene?s three at the 2:11 mark. Haven then missed back-to-back one-and-one opportunities, but Hillsboro could not capitalize at the other end. Within the final minute, Hillsboro got to within two points at 41-39 when Serene hit another three from the top of the key with nine seconds remaining. But Haven burned the Trojans? inbound defense with a long pass down court that Hailey Davis cashed in for a layup with five seconds left.

Lackey finished as Hillsboro?s most productive offensive weapon, tossing in 17 points to take game honors. Three Wildcats scored in double figures: Davis led with 14, Rogers added 12 and Miller 10.

The loss dropped the Trojans to 7-2 in the Central Kansas League and 16-4 overall. Hillsboro could still win a share of the title if Pratt lost its game against Halstead, who entered the evening winless in the CKL. Haven improved to 7-2 in the league and 17-3 overall.

BOYS? GAME

Hillsboro, with a chance to clinch home-court advantage in the first round of sub-state next week, suffered through a first half that saw them make more turnovers (12) than shot attempts (11) on the way to an 11-6 deficit after one quarter and a 28-11 hole by halftime. To add injury to insult, Hillsboro starter Jesse Allen injured his shoulder in the first half and did not play the rest of the night.

Even so, Hillsboro picked up its play in the third quarter, but could not gain ground against Haven on the scoreboard. In fact, what essentially became a four-point play in the final six seconds of the period on a Trojan foul away from a made basket turned into two additional free throws, Haven enjoyed its biggest margin of the game at 47-26 when the buzzer sounded.

But the Trojans kicked up their energy yet another gear in the final frame, starting the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run in the first 1:40. They battled all the way to within 57-51 when Jarod Hamm nailed a three from the wing with 18 seconds to go. Hillsboro called an immediate timeout to set up the defense, but Haven drew fouls and hit two of four free throws in the final 16 seconds to seal the victory.

Christian Ratzlaff came off the bench to score a team high 16 points — 12 of them coming in the furious fourth quarter. His freshman classmate, Brett Weinbrenner finished the game with 14 points and senior Ben Bebermeyer added 12.

The loss dropped HHS to 11-9 overall and possibly into a tie with Halstead for the fourth or fifth seed at sub-state next week. Regardless, the two teams will face off Tuesday for the third time this year, having split their first two games. If Halstead defeated Pratt Tuesday to finish at 11-9, the home court advantage in the first round will be determined by a coin flip.

With the win, Haven finished its regular season at 14-6.

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