Coming off an impressive upset Tuesday against Council Grove, the No. 4 team in 3A, the Hillsboro girls lost to a very beatable Pratt team on Friday, 33-30.
The loss dropped Hillsboro’s record to 8-7 for the season and 2-3 in league play.
The Trojans’ defense was good enough to win the game, but it was on the offensive end where trouble reared its ugly head.
For that matter, neither team shot particularly well the entire night, and both finished with 22 percent accuracy from the floor.
In the opening quarter, when Abby Sechrist scored in the paint with 45 seconds left, the Trojans enjoyed an 8-7 lead at the first break.
But Hillsboro didn’t score again until Sechrist drained a mid-range basket at the 5:05 mark of the second quarter. She followed that with a pair of free throws at the 3:14 mark to draw the Trojans to within 13-12.
Sienna Kaufman scored Hillsboro’s only other basket down the stretch, but four points from Pratt’s Allisan McGowan gave the Greenbacks a 17-14 lead at intermission.
Hillsboro outscored the visitors, 7-6, in the third quarter, but the Trojans found themselves behind, 23-21, as the quarter ended.
Neither team pulled together a run in the final quarter, and the game ended meekly with a 33-30 win for Pratt, who missed 14 of 18 free throws in the final 2:15 of the game and still came away victorious.
Sechrist led the Trojans with 13 points, but was the only Trojan to score in double digits.
“We held them to 33 points, and if we had rebounded better we could have held them even more,” coach Nathan Hiebert said.
“Offensively, we just didn’t move very well. Give it to Pratt—I thought played well on the defensive end. I felt it was more offensively that we weren’t executing some of the things we wanted to do.”
Council Grove—Playing perhaps their best full game of the season, the Hillsboro girls proved they can be successful against successful teams as they pulled off a 49-44 upset of the No. 4 ranked team in Class 3A.
When the visiting Braves started the game with 15-4 burst in the first 4:07 of the game, the odds looked dim for the home team. But Hillsboro regrouped and finished the quarter with a 9-2 surge to pull within four points of the Braves, 17-13.
“We came out in a 2-3 zone, Kinsey (Kleiner) got the skip steal right off the bat—I thought that really sparked our energy,” coach nathan Hiebert said.
“Then we got stagnant in that zone, they hit some threes and got some open shots, so we went to man defense and I felt like our pressure picked up a lot more.”
Both teams struggled for baskets as the second quarter began. The Trojans managed only five points the entire quarter, but they also limited Council Grove to seven points, thanks in part to seven Braves turnovers.
Council Grove took a 24-18 lead into intermission.
When the Braves scored the first two baskets of the third quarter, the lead was back to 10 points at 28-18.
Abby Sechrist scored Hillsboro’s only basket over the first 4:30 of the quarter. With Hillsboro trailing, 30-20, the momentum of the game began to change.
Dani Klein hit a 10-foot basket at the 3:31 mark. Teegan Werth added a pair of free throws and Sienna Kaufman scored off a steal.
Suddenly, the Trojans were within four points at 30-26. Council Grove rallied in the final 2:36 with a 10-3 run for a 40-29 lead after three quarters.
Simply put, the fourth quarter belonged to the energized Trojans. Even so, Council Grove led, 44-31, after a couple of baskets by Chelsey Sales and Lauren Reddick.
But good defense translated into good offense for the home team. The Trojans benefited from six consecutive Council Grove turnovers by scoring six points, including a 3-point basket by Kaufman to pull within 44-37.
When Council Grove’s coach was called for a technical foul, Werth sank both free throws, Kaufman then scored on Hillsboro’s possession after the free throws.
When Abby Sechrist drained a 3-point basket from the wing, the game was tied at 44 with 2:18 to play.
When a second technical was called on the Braves’ bench about 2 minutes later, Werth again made them pay by hitting both free throws for a 47-44 Hillsboro lead.
Council Grove didn’t score another point while Hillsboro made two of four free throws in the final seconds to secure the 49-44 upset win.
Kaufman led Hillsboro’s attack with 16 points and eight steals. Werth finished with 15 points and four steals. Hillsboro’s defense contributed to 29 Council Grove turnovers, which ultimately turned the tide of the game.
“I thought it was a very physical ballgame and I thought the girls did a great job of handling that,” Hiebert said. “I felt like tonight there were a lot of times when we were the aggressors.”
The turnovers negated the Braves’ 42 percent shooting (18-43) compared to Hillsboro’s 36 percent success (16-45). The Trojans also had a huge advantage at the free-throw line, making 14 of 22 compared to Council Grove’s three of six.
Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Lyons (5-10) Tuesday, then will travel Friday to Kingman (13-2).