Trojan girls fall to Larned, Nickerson

Hillsboro’s Sienna Kaufman splits the Larned defense for Hillsboro’s first two points of the game. The junior led the Trojans with 12 points in the 44-26 loss.
Hillsboro’s Sienna Kaufman splits the Larned defense for Hillsboro’s first two points of the game. The junior led the Trojans with 12 points in the 44-26 loss.
Hillsboro’s offensive struggles, combined with Larned’s quickness and athleticism, enabled the visiting Indians to slowly pull away in the Trojans’ 44-26 loss Fri­day at Brown Gymnasium.

Combined with the Tro­jans’ three-point loss to Nick­erson on Tuesday, Hills­boro slips to 3-5 for the season and 0-2 in league play.

After Larned’s Haley Skelton made one of two free throws in the final 28 seconds of the opening quarter, the Indians took a 7-6 lead into the first break, and the Indians never trailed again.

Hillsboro did tie the game at 9 at the 5:34 mark of the second period, but Larned built a 21-12 lead by the time the first half ended. The Tro­jans managed only three baskets on 20 shots during the first two quarters while the visitors made six of 21.

A free throw by Sienna Kaufman gave Hills­boro the first point of the second half, But Larned countered with an open layup and a three-point basket that doubled the game score at 26-13 with 6:10 left in the third quarter. When it ended, the score was still doubled, but this time at 36-18.

The two teams played to an 8-8 standoff in the final quarter for the final 44-26 margin.

For the game, Hillsboro managed only 17.5 percent shooting (7-40) from the floor while Larned made 15 of 42 shots (36 percent).

“We’ve got to get better,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “Their pressure bothered us tonight. We just need to focus on getting stops and execute.”

Sienna Kauf­man finished with a team-high 12 points; Skelton led Larned with nine points and Erin Smith added eight.

Nickerson—Both teams had trouble scoring in their return from the holiday break, but the visiting Pan­thers scored frequently enough to post a 32-29 win over Hillsboro on Tuesday.

The low score sometimes was the result of good defense, but for most of the game, shots simply didn’t drop for either team.

Savannah Unruh and Sienna Kaufman scored back-to-back baskets around the 6-minute mark of the first quarter to give Hills­boro a 4-0 lead. The Trojans were still leading when the quarter ended, 8-6.

The two teams combined for a mere eight points in the second quarter, leading to an 11-11 tie at halftime.

The Trojans managed a 20-16 lead late in the third quarter, but a three-point basket by Tara Davis in the final minute pulled the Panthers to within 20-19 as the quarter ended.

Still in position to win, Hillsboro hit six free throws, but missed its first 11 shots from the floor. Nick­erson took advantage of the drought to lead 31-26 with less than a minute left.

Unruh finally ended the drought with a three-point basket with 27.5 seconds left to cut the lead to one point. But Hillsboro missed two three-point attempts down the stretch while Nickerson added a final free throw to for the 32-29 win.

Madison Ontjes and Leslie Ortiz each scored eight points to pace the Panthers, who shot 24 percent for the game (10-41).

Abby Sechrist scored seven points and Mesa Merrell six to lead HHS, who finished with 17 percent accuracy (9-53).

“We got some decent looks, but we missed probably seven or eight layups inside, trying to avoid contact rather than going up strong,” coach Nathan Hie­bert said. “Defensively, we’re giving ourselves a chance, but we’re just not scoring.”

Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to play at Hoi­sing­ton (2-5, 2-0) Tuesday and then will travel to Haven (4-3, 2-0) on Friday. For same-night coverage go to hillsborofreepress.com.