Hillsboro?s Dakota Kaufman scored 16 points after halftime to lead the Trojan girls to an overtime victory against previously unbeaten Hesston, 41-33, Friday at Hesston.
The victory in the Trojans? league opener was Hillsboro?s fourth straight after an 0-3 start to the season. Hesston dropped to 6-1 overall and 1-1 in the league.
The Trojans led 8-5 after one quarter and 14-12 at halftime in a defensive battle as neither team shot better than 30 percent from the field and combined for 27 turnovers.
Late in the third quarter, Hesston slipped briefly into the lead before the period ended in a 21-21 tie. The Swathers then scored five straight points to surge to a 26-21 lead at the 4:44 mark of the final period.
But that?s when Kaufman and the Trojans came alive. The senior post player scored two quick baskets to pull Hillsboro to within one point, then later pulled her team into a 31-31 tie when she made two clutch free throws with 5 seconds left in regulation.
Hesston failed to score in the final seconds, sending the game into overtime. Kaufman scored six of Hillsboro?s eight points in the extra period.
Beyond Kaufman?s individual performance, the Trojans won this game with clutch free-throw shooting, making 10 straight from the final 2:05 of regulation through overtime. Prior to that streak, Hillsboro was a meager 2-for-7 from the stripe.
?Defensively, we held a good ball club to 33 points,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?Most of their points came off of turnovers and sometimes offensive rebounds.
?At times we were forcing things early,? he added. ?The girls were trying hard, but sometimes when you try too hard you lack patience to do the little things you need to do to be successful.?
Hesston was hurting from the absence of its leading scorer, Mallory Schroeder, who injured her ankle in the Swathers? game Tuesday.
?It?s still a big win,? Hiebert said. ?This is the first time I?ve beaten Hesston. They?re a quality ball club. ?
Coming?Hillsboro?s Jan. 7 home game with Hoisington, postponed because of weather, has been rescheduled for Jan. 29.
The Trojans were scheduled to host Smoky Valley (1-1, 1-4) Tuesday. On Thursday, Hillsboro travels to Halstead (0-2, 4-4).
Same-night reports for both games will be posted on the Free Line (620-947-3363) and at hillsborofreepress.com.