Hillsboro used contrasting scenarios in their sweep of Garden Plain in the second round of the Moundridge Preseason Tournament on Thursday. The Hillsboro girls overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half, then barely escaped with a 43-42 win, while the Trojan boys built a 22-point lead by halftime and cruised to a 51-30 victory.
GIRLS — Senior Callie Serene stepped up to score all seven of her points in the final four minutes of the game to help the Trojans to their Houdini-style victory.
The Trojans found themselves in a fight with a quick and talented flock of Owls. HHS jumped to an early 7-2 lead with Stephanie Sanders contributing a three-pointer and two-pointer to Tena Loewen?s opening basket. But Garden Plain pulled ahead at 8-7 and then pushed the margin to 11-7 at the first break and 24-17 at by halftime.
A 7-2 start to the third quater gave the Owls their largest lead at 12 points with 5:31 left in the third period. But full-court pressure by the Trojans began to change the momentum. An 8-2 run in the final 5:14 pulled HHS to within 33-29 by the end of the period.
After Garden Plain scored to start the final quarter, Sanders hit a three-pointer, Danae Bina add a basket in the paint and Serene stepped up with the first of two threes to give the Trojans the lead at 37-35. Krista Reimer scored in the paint about 30 seconds later for a 39-35 advantage.
But then things went weird. Over the last 2:26, the Trojans made only one free throw in six attempts — two of the misses were on the front end of a one-and-one.
After Garden Plain regained the lead, Serene?s three-pointer at the 1:20 mark put Hillsboro back on top 42-41. The Owls then turned the ball over on their next two possessions and on the third one coach Sarah McCormick called a timeout a mere moment before one of her players put up a shot that hit nothing but net and would have put the Owls back on top.
HHS still led, and after a change of possession, Serene was fouled on an inbounds pass. She made one of two free throws for a 43-41 lead with six seconds left. Noelle Dooley of Garden Plain was then fouled at the other end. Shooting the double-bonus with 0.4 seconds left, Dooley swished the first free throw but then missed the one that would have tied the game. Loewen hauled down the rebound to preserve the one-point win.
Loewen was the only Trojan to break double-digits with the minimum 10. Hillsboro shot 46 percent (17-37) from the field while Garden Plain made nearly 59 percent (17-29) of its shots.
The difference in the game was Hillsboro forcing 16 Owl turnovers in the second half after eight in the first half.
BOYS — Another outstanding first half set the tone for Hills?boro?s surprisingly lopsided win over Garden Plain. Led by their defense, the Trojans built an 8-0 advantage after one quarter, and did not allow an Owl basket until 20 seconds into the second period.
A 25-11 quarter put the game clearly in the Trojans? domain. Christian Ratzlaff hit a pair of three-pointers and Shaq Thiessen, playing his first game after battling illness in the preseason, hit one as well to fuel the surge.
Hillsboro added six unanswered points in the first 3:41 of the third period to push the margin to a game-high 28 points. Garden Plain never made a serious run the rest of the way. HHS forced 17 turnovers in the first half but only seven in the second half as the Owls snipped the halftime lead by one point.
Thiessen made his presence felt on offense, finishing with a team-high 14 points. Josh Wiebe had a strong night as well with 11. As a team, Hillsboro shot 43 percent from the floor (20-46) while limiting the Owls to 30 percent shooting (11-37).
COMING — In the round-robin format, both Hillsboro teams can claim tournament titles with wins against Mound?ridge. The girls? game will begin around 7 p.m. while the boys will tip off around 8:30 p.m.