Reversals of fortune

Pratt?s pressure undoes undefeated HHS girls

In a showdown of teams that thrive on pressure defense, the Hillsboro girls finished on the short end of a 36-31 score against Pratt for their first loss of the season.

The Trojans (0-1, 7-1) struggled against Pratt?s physical play, shooting 29 percent (10 for 35) for the game, while Pratt?s 32 percent from the floor (15-47) was just enough to give the Green?backs the edge.

?It was probably one of the more physical ball games we?ve played this year,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?I?m proud of our girls, how they held their composure with that.?

Hillsboro didn?t score until Allie Faul drained a three-pointer at the 4:24 mark of the opening period. She added a two-pointer less than a minute later and Callie Serene followed with a three at the 2:58 mark to carry HHS to an 8-6 lead at the end of the quarter despite committing seven turn?overs.

Meanwhile, Hillsboro?s pressure limited Pratt to 2-for-12 shooting and contributed to six Greenback turnovers.

The Trojans nudged their lead to 11-7 on a basket and free- throw by Elise Heyen near the midway mark of the second quarter. But a three-pointer by Pratt?s Cheyene Eisenhour rallied her teammates to a 17-17 tie at intermission.

The game turned on a 12-minute field-goal drought by the Trojans in the second half. Tena Loewen scored for HHS 30 seconds into the third quarter, then finally broke the drought with a bucket at the 4:38 mark of the fourth quarter. By then HHS had fallen behind, 28-20.

?We have too many stretches where we come away with no scores,? Hiebert said. ?Maybe with the loss we can learn from that. If we don?t have something early, we run our offense five or six passes. I think we?ll be amazed by the different kind of shots we?ll be able to get.?

After Pratt pushed the lead to 30-22, the Trojans found their rhythm, cashing in consecutive Pratt turnovers for two free throws by Addie Lackey, a three-pointer from Serene and a put-back by Loewen. Loewen missed the bonus free throw that would have tied the game at 30 with 2:03 to go.

Pratt responded with baskets by Jenson Maydew and Aubrey Hoover to regain momentum down the stretch and held on for the six-point victory.

Serene finished with 10 points to lead HHS. Eisenhour led all scorers with 12.

?I warned them we?d be playing better teams, and Pratt is one of those better teams,? Hiebert said. ?Some?times when you play a little softer competition, you don?t have to do it as sharp. Tonight, hopefully they see that we can?t just go through the motions.?

Halstead?Fueled by their defensive pressure and four girls with double-digit points, Hills?boro opened 2011 with a 61-27 blowout of the Dragons that ended with a running clock in the fourth quarter.

Halstead?s Alyssa Talbott drained a three-pointer 28 seconds into the contest to give the home team a 3-0 start. But the Trojans took control from there, scoring the next seven points on the way to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter.

Tena Loewen lit the Trojans? fire with seven points coming off the bench.

?She does so much for our team,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?She?s so athletic, she gets herself in the right position, she is aggressive to the basket. We started getting easier looks and easier baskets when she was on the court.?

Using full-court pressure as the catalyst, Hillsboro started the second quarter with a 10-0 run on the way to a 32-13 halftime bulge. Loewen had 12 points by intermission and Allie Faul 8.

Faul tossed in seven points in the third quarter as the Trojans pushed their lead to 52-25 at the final break. When Faul hit a three-pointer to start the final quarter, Hillsboro led by 30 and the running clock kicked in.

Faul led all scorers with a season-high 20 points. Loewen finished with 14 and Courtney Weber and Addie Lackey each added 10 as the Trojans improved to 7-0.

Hiebert was pleased with the way his team played coming off the holiday break.

?The girls did a nice job,? he said. ?The practices we had over break were really sharp.?

Hillsboro shot 50 percent from the floor (23-46) while pressuring the Dragons to 34 percent shooting (10-29) and 26 turnovers.

Hiebert credited the depth of his team for the Trojans? effectiveness on defense.

?Most teams can handle the pressure and intensity early when they have their legs,? he said.? But this is how we practice?we?re up and down, we?re pressing all the time. That?s the condition we?re in. Most other teams just can?t do that.

?Early on, if we can withstand some storms, we can wear them down.?

Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play at Lyons Tuesday in a non-league contest.

The Trojans will host Nicker?son Friday in a Central Kansas League contest. The following Tuesday, they travel to Hesston for a CKL game. Both games will begin around 6 p.m.

A same-night report on each game will be posted at hillsboro?freepress.com.

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Sluggish Hillsboro boys ignite against Pratt

The Hillsboro boys rose from the ashes of their most disappointing performance of the season Tuesday to post perhaps their most impressive one Friday with a 65-50 win over Pratt at Brown Gymnasium.

?I think the guys were smarting from the game before and really wanted to play better,? coach Darrel Knoll said.

In the early going, the offensive struggles that limited HHS (1-0, 4-4) to 18 points three days earlier continued against Pratt (0-2, 2-4) as the Trojans missed seven of their first eight shots. Fortunately, their defense held the Greenbacks to three points during the same stretch.

Then, a layup by Ben Bebermeyer at the 1:33 mark inexplicably lit a fuse for HHS. After Brett Weinbrenner followed with a three-pointer with 1:01 left, Bebermeyer converted two of three free throws after he was fouled on a three-point attempt at the buzzer. The charities put HHS ahead at the first break, 9-6.

That spurt was a foretaste of what was to come. Hillsboro exploded for 23 points in the second quarter with an impressive display of hustle, ball movement and dead-eye shooting.

Christian Ratzlaff started the fun with a three-pointer at the 6:35 mark. Jarod Hamm canned back-to-back threes on either side of the 2:40 mark, then Bebermeyer hit a fourth three with 1:54 left in the period.

Meanwhile, Caleb Hilliard scored two driving layups off the break and Weinbrenner chipped in a 12-footer as the Trojans rolled to a 32-21 halftime lead.

Hillsboro didn?t shrivel in the second half. With Ratzlaff tossing in 10 points, including two more three-pointers, the Trojans put up 19 points in the third quarter. Pratt stayed in contention on the three-point shooting of Matt Swank, who countered with three long-range bombs in the final 4:23.

Two unanswered buckets by Pratt in the opening minute of the fourth quarter closed Hills?boro?s lead to 51-42. But baskets by Weinbrenner, Bebermeyer (plus a bonus free throw) and Hilliard gave Hillsboro its largest led of the night at 58-43 with 4:28 left to play.

The Greenbacks responded with a 5-0 surge, but the Trojans nailed down the win with a 7-2 spurt down the stretch.

?I thought we came out with intensity tonight right from the start,? Knoll said. ?I thought we played really hard against a pretty physically strong team.

?The defensive effort was absolutely tremendous,? he added. ?Offensively, it was probably the first time this year that we really moved the basketball.?

Hillsboro got key contributions from a variety of players, including nine who scored. Weinbrenner finished with 16 points while Beber?meyer and Ratzlaff added 14 each.

?We made some shots tonight because we moved the ball well, and when we caught and shot we were in rhythm and ready to go,? Knoll said. ?That?s what we?ve really struggled to do all year.?

Halstead?Not much went well for Hillsboro in its 2011 debut. The Trojans battled defensively for a time, but never found offensive rhythm on the way to a sobering 50-18 loss against the Dragons last Tuesday.

Hillsboro struck first blood when Ben Bebermeyer scored on a fast-break layup 35 seconds after tip-off. But offensive production dried up quickly as 3-for-9 shooting put the Trojans on the short side of a 14-6 score by the end of the first quarter.

Hillsboro then missed all eight of its shots in the second quarter. But a decent effort on defense kept the Trojans in the contest with a 19-8 score at intermission.

But in the third quarter, the defense cooled, too. Halstead went on an 8-0 burst through the first 2:40. By the end of the quarter, the home team had expanded the lead to 33-13.

The running clock kicked in with 2:12 to play when MeKial Bliss cashed in four consecutive free throws after personal and technical fouls were called against a frustrated Brett Wein?brenner. The charity tosses made the score 50-18.

The Trojans finished a disappointing evening with 22 percent shooting from the floor (8-36) as their record dropped to 3-4.

Meanwhile, Halstead (5-2) warmed up from 8-for-27 shooting in the first half to 12-for-16 accuracy in the second half. Simon McKee and Andrew Pjesky led the Dragons with 15 and 11 points, respectively.

Hillsboro got points from six players, but none scored more than six. ?We played pretty decent defense for the most part, other than taking care of the boards,? Knoll said. ?But it?s hard to win a game if you?re not scoring points.

Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play at Lyons Tues?day in a non-league contest. HHS will host Nicker?son Friday in a Central Kansas League contest. A same-night report will be posted after each game at hillsborofreepress.com.

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