The Hillsboro girls traveled to Kingman Friday for a confrontation with the high-flying Eagles, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A. Despite a strong effort by the Trojans, the Eagles simply had too many weapons as they claimed a 53-30 victory.
Hillsboro came out a bit tentative as the game began, but trailed only 11-8 with 1:50 left in the first quarter. The home team finished with a 7-2 surge for an 18-10 lead as the quarter ended.
If the Trojans had a chance for an upset bid, it slipped away in the second quarter when Kingman outscored the Trojans 13-2, for a 31-12 halftime lead.
To their credit, the Trojans did not roll over. In fact, they came out of halftime with focus and enthusiasm and literally played point-for-point with Eagles in a 13-13 third-quarter standoff.
“Our defense was a lot better in the third quarter,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “We made three stops right off the bat, we got a couple buckets. Our goal was to win that quarter, and we tied it.”
Unfortunately, Hillsboro couldn’t maintain that scoring pace in the fourth quarter. Kingman regrouped on defense and secured the win with an 11-5 run for the 25-point victory margin.
“I told the girls, to win we’d have to play our best ball for all four quarters,” Hiebert said. “I don’t think the first half was out best, but when you’re playing a team like (Kingman) they aren’t going to give you a lot of opportunities.
“Kingman’s one of the best teams in the state,” he added. “Most of the time they have three girls who can shoot the three. That’s a tough task to defend.”
Freshman Teegan Werth led Hillsboro with 11 points, including three 3-pointers, but was the only Trojan to break double digits.
Brianne Garrison led the Eagles with 15 points. Bailey Bangert added 12 and Carlie Kelley 10.
Lyons—Hillsboro girls were hoping for a second win against a 6-10 Lyons team that they defeated in December during the first week of the season.
But the Trojans weren’t anticipating the impact of Bailey Hollinger, the Lions’ 5-7 guard who broke loose for 29 points to fuel her team’s 43-40 victory.
In the first half, Hollinger drained four 3-point baskets on the way to 18 points by intermission and a 26-26 tie at halftime.
In the second half, the Trojans shut down the sharp-shooting guard behind the 3-point line, only to be burned at the free-throw line. The senior hit 11 of 12 charities over the final two quarters to keep the Trojans at bay.
Lyons jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game—before Tuesday Weisbeck scored Hillsboro’s first points at 6:08.
But by the end of the quarter, it appeared the Trojans had righted the ship by closing the gap to 15-14.
Teegan Werth gave Hillsboro its first lead when she hit a 3-pointer just 12 seconds into the second quarter. Sienna Kaufman scored Hillsboro’s next seven points for a 24-18 lead.
But Hollinger buried two 3-point baskets and Daci Stover added a 2-pointer to tie the game by halftime at 26-26.
Hillsboro struggled for points as the third quarter began, and didn’t score a field goal until Sechrist broke the drought at 4:13 for a 30-29 lead. By the end of the quarter, Lyons was back in front, 36-35.
Kinsey Kleiner hit two huge 3-pointers in the first 3:12, but no one else contributed points until Kaufman hit two free throws at 4:09 to tie the game at 43.
Sechrist added two field goals within a minute of each other to draw the Trojans to within 49-47 with 49 seconds left. The Trojans missed their last four shots while Hollinger hit five of six free throws over the same stretch for the 54-47 win.
“We just didn’t move our feet,” coach Nathan Hiebert said about his team’s 20 personal fouls that led to Lyons’ 22-of-29 effort at the line.
Kaufman led the Trojans with 17 points. Kleiner finished with a career-high 11 and Sechrist added eight.
Hiebert said he was disappointed in his team’s lack of energy on offense against Lyons’ matchup zone.
“We just kind of went through the motions,” he said. “I told them we have to have patience, and we have to have movement—because if you stand, you’re easy to guard. When we started moving, we got wide-open shots and layups.”
Coming—Hillsboro will have its hands full this week. The Trojans were scheduled to host Halstead on Tuesday. The Dragons are 15-3 for the season and ranked No. 4 in Class 3A. On Friday, Hillsboro travels to Hesston. The Swathers have a 13-4 record and are ranked No. 6 in 3A.
Hillsboro will complete the regular season Feb. 20 when Smoky Valley comes to Brown Gymnasium.