Both Hillsboro basketball teams turned in one of their best performances of the season, but only one team parlayed it into a victory Thursday night at Halstead. The Trojan girls got a season-high 28 points from Dakota Kaufman and cruised to a 50-31 conquest. Meanwhile, the boys made a strong run at one of the top teams in Class 3A before falling, 54-47.
It took the girls a couple of minutes to find their stride, but they kicked it in at about the 5:26 mark to push their tentative 2-0 to 13-2 spread in the final minute. The quarter ended at 13-5 lead at quarter?s end, with Kaufman chipping in seven of Hillsboro?s points.
Halstead started the second quarter with a 6-2 surge, but a basket by Kaufman at the 3:49 mark ignited an 11-0 run that pushed the lead to 26-11 with a minute left in the half. Callie Serene sank two 3-pointers from the corner during the surge.
Leading 28-13 at the half, Hillsboro started the second half with another 11-0 run — with Kaufman providing nine of those points — to lead by 26 at 39-13. A 3-pointer by Jill Armendariz cut the gap to 39-16 before the quarter ended.
A good effort from Halstead in the final quarter reduced the final margin to 19 points. The win was Hillsboro?s sixth straight and improved its league record to 3-0 and season mark to 6-3.
In the nightcap, few people gave the Trojan boys (1-7) much of a chance against the fifth-ranked Dragons (8-1). The outlook didn?t look good as Halstead jumped to a 6-2 led in the first 2:30. But the Trojans got a pair of free-throws from Mason McCarty followed by consecutive baskets from Ethan Frantz and Caleb Hilliard to take an 8-6 lead midway through the quarter. Halstead had reclaimed the lead at 17-16 by the end of the period.
When Hillsboro?s Ben Beber?meyer left the game following a collision near midcourt with 1:30 left in the first half, the Dragons took advantage with a 5-2 surge that gave them a 31-24 lead at intermission.
As it turned out, the game turned in the third quarter. Hillsboro came out firing blanks as Halstead extended its lead to 40-28 by quarter?s end. The Trojans made only two of their 16 shots, but the defense held Halstead to 3-for-8 shooting to limit the damage.
Anyone who thought the Trojans would fold in the fourth quarter was mistaken. Instead, they battled back into contention with a 19-10 rally that included two big 3-pointers from Jarod Hamm off the bench. When Jesse Allen completed a traditional three-point play with 1:18 to play, Hillsboro was within a single possession at 50-47.
But Halstead?s Jared Regehr volunteered to be the guy to try to win the game at the foul line as the Trojans scrambled for possession of the ball. Regier made four of six charities down the stretch to seal the win while the Trojans misfired twice from behind the arc.
Allen led the Trojans with 13 points while McCarty added a career-best 12.