The Hillsboro girls actually led Hesston, the No. 8 ranked team in Class 3A, after one quarter but the home team gradually pulled away to a 55-34 final score.
Hillsboro led 6-2 lead with back-to-back 3-point baskets by freshmen Kinsey Kleiner and Teegan Werth. Werth hit a second three and added a 2-pointer for a total of eight points as the Trojans posted a 13-12 lead quarter’s end.
“I told the girls we needed to come out with some intensity, and they did,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “I thought we pushed the tempo a little bit and didn’t allow the defense to get set.”
Hillsboro’s hot start cooled in the second quarter. The Trojans managed only two baskets on 14 shots. Hesston took advantage of the scoring lull to establish a 25-17 lead by halftime.
“In the second quarter we slowed down,” Hiebert said. “We didn’t get as many stops in that quarter and we didn’t push the ball with a lot of intensity and purpose. Our execution was pretty poor.”
Still within striking distance as the third quarter began, Hillsboro went scoreless for the first 31⁄2 minutes, thanks in part to eight turnovers on their first 11 possessions.
The Swathers, meanwhile, scored nine unanswered points during that span to lead 34-17 at 4:37.
Kleiner broke the ice for Hillsboro with a 3-point basket at 4:25. Abby Sechrist and Jessica Saunders each added 2-pointers and Werth topped off the quarter with a three with 16 seconds left.
The quarter ended with Hesston leading, 44-27. The Swathers edged Hillsboro, 11-7, in the fourth quarter for the 55-34 final score.
Werth led the Trojans with 11 points.
“There were parts of the third quarter and fourth quarter where we got the ball up and swung it to the other side, which gave us better back-cut opportunities and better penetration opportunities.
“Almost every time we did that we got good looks—I’m not saying they were great looks. When we didn’t do it, we were stagnant. Execution is key against a very good team.If you don’t execute they’re going to eat you alive.”
The loss dropped The Trojans’ season record to 8-11 while the Swathers improved to 15-4.
Halstead—The Dragons, who came into Brown Gymnasium ranked No. 7 in Class 3A, took advantage of a low-energy effort from the hometown Trojans and rolled up a 49-22 victory Tuesday.
The Dragons started quickly, scoring three times on three possessions in the first 1:13 for a 6-0 lead.
When Hillsboro’s Abby Sechrist scored in the lane at the 4:29 mark, she ignited an 8-0 run that briefly put the Trojans on top with 1:38 left. Halstead rallied for an 11-8 as the quarter ended.
As it turned out, the first quarter was about the only notable highlight for the Trojans. Their effort and shooting accuracy diminished as the game went on.
By the end of the second quarter, the Dragons led 23-10 and by the end of the third quarter the margin was 40-17.
In fairness, the Dragons showed a respectable effort on offense and played strong defense to earn their 23-point lead. A 9-5 fourth quarter—with a running clock for almost half of it—gave the Dragons their 27-point victory.
Teegan Werth was Hillsboro’s leading scorer with seven points, but the team made only 21 percent of its shots (8-38), including 2-for-12 behind the arc.
Halstead, led by Daphne Williams with 22 points, made 19 of 50 shots (38 percent), including six of 12 shots from 3-point range.
“We didn’t move the ball like we needed to,” coach Nathan Hiebert said about his team’s tepid performance. “Halstead didn’t do anything different from what we talked about at practice. It’s just that they go through things hard.
“We didn’t go through things hard,” he added.
“We played pretty uninspired tonight. I was extremely disappointed in how our girls came out.”
The loss drops the Trojans to 8-10 for the season.
Coming—Hillsboro (8-11, 3-8) is scheduled to complete the regular season Tuesday when Smoky Valley (12-7, 6-3) comes to Robert C. Brown Gymnasium.
Hillsboro will be hosting the Class 2A sub-state tournament next week. Joining the Trojans in the eight-team field are Canton-Galva, Berean Academy, Goessel, Herington, Inman, Marion and Moundridge.