Defense set a low-scoring tone at the start as the Trojans and Vikings traded turnovers and missed shots on the way to a 4-4 deadlock after one quarter.
|Smoky Valley’s Maggie Pihl outduels Kassidi Luthi (33) and Samantha Heinrichs of Hillsboro for a rebound during the first half of action Thursday. The Vikings went on to defeat Hillsboro, 39-29, to end the regular season for both teams.|
Hillsboro took its last lead of the game when Amy Neufeld scored in the post 26 seconds into the second period. Smoky Valley responded with a slow-developing 5-0 run before Dakota Kaufman sank two free throws at the 4:45 mark to pull the Trojans back to within 9-8.
But then Hillsboro managed only a field goal by Tiffany Rooker as the Vikings pushed the lead to 15-10 by intermission. A 3-0 start extended the margin to 18-10 two minutes into the third quarter.
Hillsboro whittled the lead to 20-17 on a basket by Kaufman at the 3:52 mark, but the Vikings responded with an 8-2 surge to take a 28-19 lead as the third quarter came to an end.
The two teams more or less traded points the through the final quarter as Smoky Valley avenged an early-season loss in Lindsborg.
In an otherwise statistical standoff, the difference in the game came down to shooting percentages. Smoky Valley managed 40 percent accuracy (14-35) while Hillsboro made less than 25 percent (10-41) of its shots.
“Smoky Valley had more patience on offense, got the shots it wanted and took some time off the clock to get those shots,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “I thought we tried to force things.”
On defense, the Trojans limited the league’s top scorer, Rhys Pihl, to a game-high 17 points, with six coming from the free-throw line late.
“I thought we did a pretty good job defensively when you can hold a team like that to 39 points,” Hiebert said. “I think you’re giving yourself a pretty good shot to win. Unfortunately, when you only score 29, you’re not going to win very often.”
Kaufman, with 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting, was the only Trojan to score in double digits.
The Hillsboro girls got off to a quick start Tuesday against a young Lyons squad and were never threatened in the way to their biggest victory margin of the season, 58-28.
Kassidi Luthi, making her first start of the season with Samantha Heinrichs out with illness, scored the first points of the game when she sank a 15-footer 32 seconds into the contest.
Dakota Kaufman added a basket and then Luthi scored again before Lyons got on the board with a free throw at the 5:43 mark. By the end of the quarter, the Trojans had built a 14-3 lead and by halftime the margin was 28-9.
The two teams battled evenly through the third quarter, with Hillsboro maintaining the 19-point advantage heading into the final period, 44-25. The Trojans then duplicated their 14-3 advantage from the first quarter to win going away. The continuous clock rule kicked in for the last 44 seconds of the contest.
Kaufman led all scorers with 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting from the floor and Neufeld added 17 on 8-for-12 shooting. As a team the Trojans shot nearly 57 percent from the floor.
Anne Nusser, one of four freshmen to start for the 1-18 Lions, scored 10 points.
“I wanted to come out with some intensity and I wanted to make sure we played solid defense, and offensively that were playing like a team,” Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert said.
“I definitely thought we came out that way.”
Coming—Hillsboro—9-11 overall and 6-5 in league play—was scheduled to play at Marion (10-10, 8-3) Tuesday in the opening round of sub-state play. If the Trojans survived that contest, they will square off against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Remington (15-5) and Lyons (1-19) in the sub-state semifinals at Brown Gymnasium on Friday night.
Reports on Tuesday’s game are available from the Free Line (947-3363) and online at www.hillsborofreepress.com.