Hillsboro got off to a solid start against a talented Wichita Collegiate team, but it was the Spartans who took charge over the long haul en route to a 39-29 win over the Trojans in the state semifinals Friday at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.
With sophomore Tena Loewen locking down on one of the most talented players in the state in Collegiate?s Ashia Woods, the Trojans had an opportunity for what most onlookers would have considered at least a mild upset of their former league rivals.
After Collegiate struck first, Hillsboro?s Loewen and Addie Lackey traded great lead passes for baskets on consecutive possession as Hillsboro took its first lead at 4-2.
After a 4-4 score at the end of the first quarter, Hillsboro battled for the lead through the first 2:26 of the second period and claimed it for the last time at 13-11 when Callie Serene drained a three-point shot from the wing at the 5:34 mark.
Woods and Keli Dunn responded with back-to-to back threes for Collegiate, and the Trojans managed only one more basket before halftime, enabling the Spartans to build a 22-15 at intermission.
When Collegiate started the third quarter with an 8-0 run to push the lead to 30-15, the Trojans were against the ropes. Allie Faul scored on an inbounds pass to break the streak with 4:07 left in the quarter, but the Spartans held their own and ended the quarter with a 34-20 lead.
Hillsboro conjured a slow surge to start the final period, holding the Spartans scoreless through the first 5:31 of the quarter, while baskets by Faul and Loewen chipped the lead to 34-24.
But Collegiate got a three from Woods and a two-pointer Sydney Lower to push the margin back to 15 with 3:44 left and short-circuit any realistic hope of a Trojan comeback win.
Woods finished with a game-high 19 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and five blocked shots. Loewen tied Serene and Faul for high scorer for HHS with eight points, while pulling down nine rebounds and grabbing four steals?all team highs.
The Trojans more or less matched the Spartans both in rebounds (26 to 24) and turnovers (24 to 22), but the game boiled down to better shooting by Woods and her Collegiate teammates, 46 percent (15-33) to 32 percent (13-41) for Hillsboro.
With the loss, Hillsboro drops to 20-5 and will play a Thomas More Prep (20-5) for third place at noon Saturday. The Trojans will have a chance to avenge an overtime loss to the Monarchs in the Trojan Classic in January.
Meanwhile, Collegiate (19-6) will play Jefferson County North (25-0) for the state title at 3 p.m.