For the second game in a week, the Hillsboro girls used a third-quarter burst to take control of their destiny. This time, the Trojans out?scored Haven 22-5 in the third period and went on to claim a 58-35 victory Friday at Brown Gymna?sium.
The Trojans, now 14-5, played with energy and focus all evening, but still couldn?t shake the 10-8 Wildcats during the first half. Hillsboro led 14-9 after one quarter and 25-19 by halftime, aided by nine points from Alex Ratzlaff.
The Trojans got into some foul trouble in the first half, but the trend flip-flopped as the third quarter began. Hills?boro drew six Haven fouls during the first three minutes?and cashed in six free throws in eight attempts.
?When you settle for jump shots, you don?t get a lot of fouls,? coach Nathan Hiebert said of his team?s first-half play. ?At halftime we talked about being a little more aggressive to the basket. When we talk about something and it works, it helps with our energy.?
When Ratzlaff scored off a steal at the 4:38 mark, Hills?boro?s early 10-2 run pushed the lead to 35-21. Courtney Troyer scored two baskets and Addie Lackey drained a pair of three-point shots, giving the Trojans a 47-24 lead by the end of the period.
Lackey led all scorers with 20 points, but Ratzlaff stepped up with 14. Seven Trojans contributed points. As a team, the Trojans shot 51 percent from the floor (21-41) and were 4-for-8 from behind the arc.
?I?m really pleased getting more girls involved,? Hiebert said. ?I told the girls our games go a lot better when we get six, seven, eight girls really involved (in the offense).?
Defensively, Hillsboro limited the Wildcats to 28 percent shooting (11-39), including 3-for-15 (20 percent) from behind the arc. Haven committed 19 turn?overs to 11 for Hillsboro.
?The girls did a good job in the second half with their defensive intensity,? Hiebert said. ?We got more fast-break opportunities with loose balls when we got in the passing lanes.?
Halstead?One outstanding quarter of basketball was more than enough to offset three less-than-stellar ones, as Hillsboro rolled to a 57-35 win in a game that seemed closer than the final score.
The Dragons, who came in with a 3-14 record, got off to a 9-5 start. But Addie Lackey scored five points and Danae Bina two to put the Trojans on top 12-9 as the quarter ended.
Halstead?s Sydney Beat hit two three-pointers and completed a traditional three-point play to pull her team to within 19-18 with 2:45 left in the second quarter. But a free throw from Lackey and a three-point basket by Alex Ratzlaff gave the Trojans a modest 23-18 lead at intermission.
Coach Nathan Hiebert was disappointed with his team?s performance.
?We looked pretty sluggish tonight,? he said. ?I was disappointed in our focus and effort.?
A different Trojan team showed up for the third quarter. The defense forced turnovers on Halstead?s first five possessions, and the Dragons then missed four straight shots.
Meanwhile, the Trojans reeled off 16 consecutive points through the first 5:15 to break the game open. Lackey tossed in six, Bina four and Maddie Duerk?sen and Ratzlaff each nailed a three-point basket.
Leading 43-24 heading into the final quarter, the Trojans cooled off, missing seven of their first eight shots through the first 4:30. But Halstead never made a serious run. Hiebert cleared his bench with 1:33 to play and the Trojans leading 54-31.
Lackey led all scorers with 22 points while Bina added 12 points.
?Early in the first half, Addie was really key to keeping us in the ball game,? Hiebert said. ?She hit several shots and was about all we had in offensive firepower. I was pleased with her.?
Coming?The Trojans (14-5) were scheduled to complete the regular season Tuesday at home against Kingman (8-10). Sub-state seedings will be announced Wednes?day. The matchups will be posted at hillsborofreepress.com.
If Hillsboro defeats King?man, the Trojans should secure the No. 4 seed and play their first-round game Monday at home, likely against Berean Academy. The rest of the tournament will be played at Berean.
The girls? field includes four teams ranked in Class 2A: Sterling (3), Moundridge (5), Remington (7) and Hillsboro (10). The field also includes Little River, Inman, Canton-Galva and Peabody-Burns.