The Hillsboro girls positioned themselves to claim at least a share of the first Central Kansas League championship with a 54-35 Senior Night win against Kingman in Brown Gymnasium.
The win improved the Trojans? record to 7-1 (16-3 overall) in the CKL and kept them tied on the loss side with Pratt, who improved to 6-1 with a win over Hesston.
Hillsboro will complete its league and regular-season schedule with a challenging game Tuesday at Haven (6-2, 16-3) while Pratt has two league games remaining.
?We want to be sure and get this league title,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?It?s been a while (2007) since Hillsboro has won a league title. This is the first year for this league and it would be neat to get that.?
Hillsboro got off to a sluggish start against the Eagles (2-6, 4-15), falling behind 6-0 in the first 3:04. Senior Allie Faul broke he ice with a pair of free throws at the 4:34 mark.
?We got beat early on their back screen,? Hiebert said of Kingman?s success. ?That?s my fault. I didn?t prepare them very well for that. We didn?t jump to the ball and we weren?t communicating very well early.?
By the end of the period, the Trojans were within one at 8-7, despite making only one of eight shots from the floor.
Hillsboro?s game began coming together in the second period. Tena Loewen?s putback and bonus free throw at the 6:35 mark gave HHS its first lead at 10-8.
After Kingman responded with a basket 30 seconds later, Callie Serene drained a three from the top of the key with 4:46 left in the half to give Hillsboro a lead it would not relinquish at 13-10.
Coming off a 19-13 halftime lead, the Trojans broke the game open in the third period. An 8-2 burst within the first three minutes led to a 22-9 surge by the end of the quarter. Addie Lackey tossed in six points to fuel the charge.
?We got some steals, we were up in the passing lanes a little more,? Hiebert said. ?Our pressure really did wear them down a little bit.?
Hillsboro pushed its lead to a game-high 22 points at 52-30 when Loewen scored with 2:09 left in the game.
The sophomore paced Hills?boro with 18 points and nine rebounds. Faul added 12. Joining her for Senior Night recognition were classmates Becky Faber, Elise Heyen and Emma Heyen.
Hayley Mertens tossed in 21 points to lead Kingman and Dani Molitor scored 11.
Halstead?Tuesday?s home game went pretty much as it should have in a match-up of teams that came in to the contest with 14-3 and 1-16 records.
Hillsboro allowed Halstead a 4-0 head start, but ultimately cruised to a 45-17 victory.
After the Dragons? initial spurt, the Trojans scored the next 11 points for an 11-4 lead by the end of the first period.
By halftime, the margin had grown to 23-8, fueled by a Trojan defense that contributed to 14 Halstead turnovers and limited the Dragons to 4-for-10 shooting through the first two quarters.
By the start of the fourth quarter, the lead had expanded to 39-13, and when Callie Serene nailed an 18-foot jumper with 5:05 to go, Hillsboro was up by 30 points, 45-15, and the continuous clock kicked in.
Tena Loewen led Hillsboro with 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting and was the only Trojans to reach double figures. As a team, Hillsboro made 19 of 40 shots (48 percent) from the floor while limiting Halstead to six of 24 (25 percent).
Coach Nathan Hiebert was almost apologetic the Trojans didn?t score more points against the overmatched Dragons.
?They went to a 3-2 (zone defense), and played kind of soft,? Hiebert said about Halstead?s game plan. ?We got some pretty good looks, but it?s not an up-tempo game. It?s hard to get your excitement and energy level, but I thought our girls did a nice job.
?Our runs came off of defense,? he added. ?Our half-court defense was fairly good.?
Coming?Following Tues-day?s battle with Haven for a piece of the CKL title, the Trojans will use the rest of the week to prepare for next week?s sub-state tournament in Hal?stead. The Trojans are assured of a home-court match-up for Round 1.
Joining Hillsboro (16-3) and Halstead (1-18) in the field are (season records through Friday) Hutchinson Trinity (11-6), Lyons (4-14), Marion (6-11), Sedgwick (10-9), Sterling (9-9), Remington (16-2).
For a same-night report of Tuesday?s game with Haven, go to hillsboro?freepress.com.