With their unique roster mix of three upperclassmen and a sizeable corps of freshmen, Hillsboro likely surprised a few people—perhaps even themselves—by winning the Moundridge Pre-Season Tournament on Friday with a 3-0 record.
Hillsboro rallied from a 21-14 deficit against Inman midway through the third quarter to claim a 42-34 victory and a championship plaque to take home.
Both teams struggled for points in the first quarter, with Inman slipping into the lead 5-3 as the period ended. The two teams combined for 3-for-13 shooting from the field and both committed five turnovers.
The second quarter was more of the same, only slightly more productive. By halftime the Trojans cut the Teutons’ slim lead in half with a 15-14 score at intermission.
Inman achieved its 21-14 lead in the third quarter, but the Trojans pieced together an 11-6 run to grab a 25-21 advantage. Hillsboro carried a 27-25 lead into the final quarter.
After an Inman basket tied the game a 27 to start the fourth quarter, the Trojans made their move, launching a 9-2 surge to the 3:34 mark. Hillsboro had a chance to enlarge the victory if they could have hit their free throws. But 6-for-16 was food enough to hold off a late Teuton rally.
Sienna Kaufman, who led Trojan scoring in all three tournament games, finished with 14 on Friday and 43 for the tournament.
Abby Sechrist and Teegan Werth each contributed 11 as Hillsboro improved to 3-1 for the young season.
Lyons—The Trojans came out scoring at the start of the game, then struggled for points in the second half against the Lions.
Three-point baskets by freshmen Teegan Werth and Kinsey Kleiner fueled the Trojans to a 14-11 lead after one quarter.
Senior Sienna Kaufman took charge in the second quarter, scoring eight of Hillsboro’s 11 points. Lyons matched Hillsboro’s scoring point for point, enabling the Trojans to maintain their three-point lead at halftime.
The Teutons appeared to take charge of the contest in the third quarter with an 11-2 run for a 21-14 lead at the 5:50 mark. But the Trojans went on a 13-4 run to finish the quarter with yet another three-point margin, 34-31.
When the Trojans missed their first six shots of the fourth quarter, Lyons capitalized by taking a 36-34 lead midway through the period.
Kaufman tied the game at 36-36 with 2:20 to play and Abby Sechrist added a basket with 33 seconds left to bump the lead 38-36.
When Lyons scored in the paint and made the bonus free throw, Hillsboro was suddenly behind, 39-38, with 18 seconds left in the game.
Trojan coach Nathan Hiebert called a pair of timeouts to set up his team’s final assault. With 11.5 seconds to go, the Trojans got the ball into Kaufman, who drove the lane and scored in the final second.
“That’s exactly what we wanted to do,” Hiebert said. “We had Teegan spotted up on the opposite side so she had the potential for a three. Normally on that play we look for the ball to go inside, but we switched it up a little bit where we threw it over the top to Sienna. She saw that she had a nice driving lane and finished it strong.”
Kaufman led Hillsboro with 14 points for the game. Werth added nine.
Moundridge—For Hillsboro, Tuesday’s game against the host school was a huge turn of fortune by claiming a 41-33 victory over the Wildcats only four days after suffering a 32-point loss against Sterling.
Hillsboro’s aggressive defense kept the Trojans close to Moundridge in the early going. Offensively, the Trojans missed all 11 of their field-goal attempts in the first quarter, but hit three of six free-throws to keep in eyesight of Moundridge, who led 10-3 when the quarter ended.
The Trojans didn’t score a field goal until the 3:58 mark of the second quarter when senior Abby Sechrist scored on a put-back of a Trinity Marler miss.
Trailing 12-8, Hillsboro suddenly found its shooting touch. Eva Franz hit a 2-pointer and freshman Teegan Werth hit back-to-back 3-pointers to vault the Trojans into a 16-14 lead at halftime.
With senior Sienna Kaufman scoring eight points in the third period, plus one more 3-pointer by Werth in the final seconds, Hillsboro led 29-22 at the final break.
Hillsboro outscored the Wildcats 12-11 in the final quarter and, at least for the freshmen, the Trojans not only celebrated their first victory of the season but of their varsity careers.
Kaufman led HHS with 15 points. Werth’s four 3-point baskets accounted for 12 points, Malm added eight. As a team, Hillsboro made 14 of 44 shots from the floor (32 percent) and nine of 18 free-throws.