Allie Faul?s 3-point basket in the final seconds allowed the Hillsboro girls to escape with a 45-42 win over Remington Monday night in the first round of sub-state play.
The game was a work of art for the Trojans?as in ?A Tale of Two Cities? or even ?Beauty and the Beast.? The first half was the beautiful part, as the Trojans canned their first 10 shots, including a pair of 3-pointers by Faul.
When Faul hit her third trey of the game at the 5:20 mark of the second period, Hillsboro led 27-17 and looked to be world beaters.
Remington rallied with a 7-0 run and the half ended with the Trojans leading 33-25. Dakota Kaufman scored 16 points and Faul 11 by intermission and the Trojans, as a team, made 14 of 17 shots.
The second half was a different story altogether. Kaufman scored a basket eight seconds in to push the lead back to 10. But Remington?s pressure turned effective, contributing to nine Trojan turnovers that enabled the Broncos to narrow the lead to 39-33 at the final break.
Remington momentum continued to build into the fourth quarter as the Broncos tied the score at 39 with 4:38 to play and then again at 42 when Quin Tillotson made one of two free throws with 40.5 seconds left. Hillsboro passed the ball until Faul launched her winning shot for the victory.
Kaufman finished with 20 points and Faul 14 as the Trojans improved to 12-9 and, more importantly, advanced to the semifinals in Marion on Thursday.
Nickerson?Cassie Kroeker?s 3-point basket with 1:31 left in the game was the turning point in the Hillsboro?s 40-33 win over Nickerson in the regular-season finale Thursday night in Brown Gymnasium.
Even though the makeup game was did not count toward league standings or sub-state seedings, the victory avenged a three-point loss to the Panthers two weeks earlier and clinched a winning season record for Hillsboro at 11-9.
?This was a nice win for us we get ready for post-season play,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?Our defense really carried us through.?
With Nickerson having rallied from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 33-33, Kroeker launched her shot from the corner and watched it swish the net.
The basket ignited a 7-0 surge to the final buzzer. Candace Weinbrenner made both ends of a critical one-and-one with 47.7 seconds left. Kroeker then forced a turnover and added a free-throw 14 seconds later for a 39-36 HHS margin. Kroeker then capped the scoring with one more free-throw with 10.8 seconds to go.
HHS led 9-5 after one quarter and then 18-15 at halftime after Dakota Kaufman completed a traditional three-point play with 32.5 seconds to play.
The Trojans played a strong third quarter with Kaufman and Kassidi Luthi combining for all 11 points as Hillsboro pushed the margin to 29-21 heading into the final quarter.
But the Trojans seemed to lose some focus in the early going, enabling Nickerson to pull into the 33-33 tie with 2:00 to play.
The Trojans shot 42 percent (13-31) from the floor and made 11 of 21 free throws while Nickerson made only 27 percent (12-45) of its field-goal attempts and was six-for-six from the line.
Kaufman led Hillsboro with 14 points. Kroeker finished with eight. Shelby Morford paced Nickerson (11-9) with 13 points.
Collegiate?Hillsboro came out determined and effective against the No. 1 team in Class 3A, but ended up on the short end of a 55-40 score.
With the game tied 5-5 with 3:00 left in the opening quarter, Dakota Kaufman stepped up with three straight baskets and Allie Faul added a fourth as the Trojans charged to a 13-5 lead before Collegiate?s Ashia Woods scored with 24 seconds left to cut the lead to six points.
Unfortunately, the first quarter was the high-water mark for Hillsboro as Collegiate started the second quarter with a 16-0 run that finally ended when Frannie Gottsch scored at the 1:28 mark.
Woods countered with six more points to push the lead to 29-15 before Cassie Kroeker swished a 3-pointer at the buzzer to narrow the lead to 11 at intermission.
The Trojans didn?t roll over in the second half. Three unanswered baskets by Kaufman over the first 3:34 of the third period cut the Spartan lead to 29-24.
But another basket by Woods ignited an 8-0 run, and the third quarter ended with Collegiate leading 39-29.
When Faul started the final quarter with a 3-pointer, hope sprang anew for HHS. But a 10-0 Collegiate surge ended any realistic hope of an upset.
Kaufman finished as the Trojans? leading scorer, accumulating 22 points. Woods, only a sophomore, showed why she?s considered one of the top players in the state by piling up 30 points and adding a gaggle of blocks and steals to boot.
As a team the Trojans shot 45 percent (17-38) from the field while the Spartans were only slightly better at 48 percent (21-44). The loss dropped Hillsboro?s record to 10-9 for the year and a final 5-6 in league play. Collegiate improved to 18-2 and 11-0.
Coming?With Hillsboro?s opening-round win over Rem?ington on Monday, the Trojans advance to the semifinals on Thursday against the winner of No. 2. Hutchinson Trinity (13-7) and No. 7 Sedgwick (9-11). Game time will be 7:30 p.m. at Marion.
The championship game will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The three teams on the other side of the bracket are No. 1 Southeast of Saline (14-6), No. 4 Marion (12-8) and No. 5 Halstead (12-8).