In the early going, it appeared Marion might have the upper hand as the Warriors got off to an early 4-0 lead and didn?t allow Hillsboro a point until Kaufman sank one of two free-throws at the 4:07 mark of the first period.
Meanwhile, six points from Julia Zeiner fueled the Warriors to a 10-7 lead at the first break.
Marion was leading 14-9 when Kaufman hit a 10-footer at the 4:40 mark of the second period. That basket ignited an 18-4 run that carried the Trojans to a 27-18 advantage by halftime.
Kaufman, with 17 points by intermission, scored two more buckets to start the third quarter before Zeiner countered with a bucket at the 3:33 mark to make the score 31-20. Kaufman?s bucket with 4 seconds left in the period gave Hillsboro a 34-23 advantage at the final break.
With HHS pushing the lead to 38-23 on two more Kaufman buckets in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, the Warriors made a final charge behind three 3-pointers by Lindsay Hett over a one-minute span midway through the quarter.
When Hett drained her third trey with 3:09 left, Marion was within 43-35. Two free throws by Whitney Gordon with 2:01 to go clipped the lead 43-37, but the Trojans worked the clock and made two of three free-throws in the final 40 seconds to clinch the win.
Buoyed by Kaufman?s 14-for-20 accuracy, the Trojans shot nearly 49 percent (19-39) from the floor compared to just under 27 percent (13-49) by the Warriors. Hillsboro, which has struggled with rebounding much of the season, also won the battle of the boards, 30-28,with Kaufman pulling down 16 to complete the double-double.
Allie Faul also broke double digits for Hillsboro with 11 points, include 3-for-7 shooting from behind the arc.
Meanwhile, Hett led the Warrior attack with 13 points and Zeiner finished with 12.
The win boosted Hillsboro?s record to 10-8 overall and 5-5 in league play while Marion dropped to 11-8 and 7-3.
Ellinwood?Hillsboro used a 16-4 third-quarter burst to push the Eagles out of their own nest last Tuesday, 39-19, at Ellin?wood.
It was apparent early that the Trojans? defense was more than capable of containing the low-flying Eagles (5-13, 0-9). But it did take some time for the offense to find its stride.
The Trojan defense contributed to nine Eagle turnovers in the first quarter, but it took a 3-point buzzer-beater by Allie Faul to give Hillsboro a meager 5-4 lead at the first break.
The second quarter followed a similar theme as Hillsboro edged ahead 11-8 by intermission. The Eagles committed seven more turnovers and the two teams combined for 5-for-17 shooting.
?We played to their strength in the first half, which is very slow,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?They pack it in in the zone and there?s not much going. We weren?t aggressive to the basket when we had opportunities.?
Hillsboro kicked its game up a notch in the third quarter. Kassidi Luthi came off the bench to score five points, with scoring support from five teammates. A 6-0 run over the final 3:12 gave HHS a 27-12 edge heading into the final period.
?At halftime I was really stressing transition, that we can get out and run,? Hiebert said. ?That really helped us out in the second half.?
Five players contributed points for Hillsboro in the final quarter as the Trojans slowly extended the lead to the final 20-point margin.
Dakota Kaufman led the team with 12 points and Luthi finished with eight. As a team, the Trojans improved from 5-of-20 (25 percent) shooting in the first half to 11-for-16 (69 percent) in the second half, largely on the strength of the transition game.
Ellinwood made only nine of 34 (26 percent) shots from the floor for the night.
Coming?An early report of Hillsboro?s Tuesday game against No. 1 ranked Wichita Collegiate is posted on the Free Press Web site.
On Thursday, Hillsboro will finish the regular season with a rematch at home against Nickerson in a game rescheduled from Dec. 16. The Trojans lost their Feb. 13 matchup at Nickerson, 41-38.
The following week, sub-state begins with Marion as the host school for the final two rounds. The opening game will be played on the home court of the higher-seeded team.
In addition to the Trojans and Warriors, the field includes Southeast of Saline, Halstead, Hutchinson Trinity, St. John?s Military, Sedgwick and Remington.
Seeding and schedules will be determined today (Feb. 25), and will be posted at www.hillsborofreepress.com as soon as the information becomes available.