Kaufman had a chance to pull the Trojans to within one point 12 seconds into the third period, but missed two free throws. Hesston responded with five unanswered points to go back up by eight, 28-20.
A free throw by Kaufman and basket by Rooker pulled Hills?boro back to within five at 28-23, but Hesston slowly pulled away down the stretch on the strength of 10-of-12 free-throw shooting over the final 4:48.
For the game, the Trojans shot a tepid 28 percent (11-39) from the floor but made eight of 12 free throws. Hesston, meanwhile, shot 36 percent (10-28) from the floor, but had a whopping edge in free throws, making 21 of 30.
?We got some cheap fouls because we were so energetic and were reaching on rebounds,? Hiebert said. ?But they got a lot of free throws in the fourth quarter as we were trying to get the ball back.?
Rooker led Hillsboro with a career-high 15 points while Kaufman, the team?s leading scorer, was held to a season-low three points as the Trojans dropped to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Hesston improved its record to 5-1 and 2-0.
Hoisington?A sluggish Trojan team played Hoising?ton close for three quarters but let the home team slip away late in a 37-24 loss to begin the post-holiday schedule.
Dakota Kaufman hit the first basket of the game 17 seconds after tipoff, and scored Hillsboro?s only other two baskets over the next five minutes. At that point the score was tied at 6-6 before Hoisington edged into the lead 9-8 by quarter?s end.
Hillsboro enjoyed its last lead of the night when Tiffany Rooker sank a 15-footer with 2:11 left in the half for a 14-13 advantage. Hoisington came back with four unanswered points for a 17-14 lead at intermission.
The Trojans seemed to lose steam in the second half as the Cardinals slowly built an 8-2 ?surge? in the third quarter before Candace Weinbrenner, who scored Hillsboro?s first two points of the quarter, banked in a 3-pointer with four seconds left to pull Hillsboro back to within striking distance at 25-19 at the final break.
But Hoisington pulled slowly away in the final frame to claim the 13-point win.
Kaufman scored 10 points and was the only Trojan to break double digits as Hillsboro dropped to 3-3 for the season and 0-1 to open league play.
Coach Nathan Hiebert was disappointed in his team?s effort.
?We were out-worked and out-hustled,? he said. ?In the first half, I?d say over half of their points came off of second chance shots, just because they were flying to the ball. They wanted it more.
?We can make excuses, but I don?t think our girls were ready to play.?
Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to play at Smoky Valley (1-5, 0-2) on Tuesday and will play host to Halstead (3-4, 0-2) on Friday.
Hillsboro will open play Tuesday of the following week in the Trojan Classic. The seventh-seeded Trojans will take on second-seeded Sunrise Academy at 8:15 p.m.