Trojans second at Moundridge

Hillsboro’s Mesa Merrell is fouled by Chelsey Knight of Moundridge as the Trojan senior tries to drives the lane for a basket. Merrell made both free throws to give the Trojans a brief 4-3 lead early in the contest. Merrell contributed six points in the loss to the Wildcats.Hillsboro played well enough on defense to win Friday’s showdown with the host team on the final night of the Mound­ridge Pre-Season Tournament.

Unfortunately, the Tro­jans’ offense all but evaporated in the final two quar­ters, enabling the Wild­cat girls to claim a 42-24 win and the tournament title.

Hillsboro battled the hometown girls blow for blow on both ends of the court during the first half. The Trojans found much of their success on offense in the paint while the Wildcat girls did most their damage with long-range shooting.

Moundridge’s Lexi Lori­mor drained her first three-point basket a mere 18 seconds into the contest. Two more threes, one from Ellen Durst and a second from Lorimor, lifted the home team to a 12-11 lead as the first quarter ended. Mesa Merrell scored five points and Rebecca Kaufman added four to pace the Trojans.

The second quarter remained close. When Sienna Kaufman drained a three-pointer from the top of the key with 2:07 left in the half, Hillsboro trailed, 19-16.

Little did the Trojans know, Kaufman’s three would be the team’s last successful field-goal attempt of the night until Abby Sechrist scored on a put-back with 42 seconds left in the game—a drought of 17:35.

Despite their strong showing on defense all game long, the Trojans’ meager ration of six-made free throws on offense left them on the short end of the final 18-point spread.

Merrell and Rebecca Kaufman led the team with six points each, while Sienna Kauf­man and Sechrist scored five each. Hills­boro’s 24 percent shooting (5-21) in the first half shriveled to 6 percent (1-17) in the second half.

The loss gave Hills­boro a 2-1 record for the tournament and a 2-2 start to the young season.

“I’m proud of the girls—we got two wins out of the tournament,” Hiebert said. “I would have liked to win all three, but I’m glad we came out with a winning record for this week.”

HHS 49, Inman 39

Hillsboro survived on 6-for-15 free-throw shooting in the final four minutes to claim a 10-point win over the Teutons on Thurs­day.

The Trojans got off to a 9-3 lead fueled by a pair of three-point baskets from Mesa Merrell midway through the first quarter. But Inman pulled into a 9-9 tie at the end of the period by scoring six unanswered points in the final 1:41.

When Inman took a 22-15 lead with 3:35 left in the first half, the Trojans stepped up their defense, forcing the Teutons to miss their only shot, and turn the ball over on their next six possessions. The Trojans pulled to within 22-21 by halftime when Merrell scored in the final seconds.

Hillsboro tied the game at 24 at the 4:56 mark of the third quarter on a three-point play by Rebecca Kauf­man, then pushed the lead to 30-26 as the quarter ended.

A pair of free throws by Sienna Kaufman, a basket in the paint by Paige Proffitt and a traditional three-point play by Abby Sechrist gave Hillsboro a 37-28 margin with 5:14 left in the game.

Even though the Trojans’ free-throw shooting was sketchy down the stretch, their defense held the Teu­tons to 1-for-8 shooting and forced four more turnovers to secure the victory.

Sienna Kaufman led the Trojans with 12 points, Callie Linnens added nine, Merrell eight and Rebecca Kaufman seven as the Tro­jans improved to 2-1 for the season.

HHS 42, Lyons 35

After a futile first quarter in their season opener against Sterling, the Trojans came out focused and competitive against Lyons, draining their first three shots of the game. Hillsboro led, 14-10, by the end of the first quarter.

Lyons started the second quarter with a three-point play to cut the lead to one, but Callie Linnens scored in the paint to spark a 14-4 surge that gave Hills­boro a 28-17 lead by halftime—exceeding the 26 points the Trojans scored the entire game last Friday.

“I was really pleased with how we came out,” coach Nathan Hiebert said. “We were a lot sharper. I felt our defensive intensity was pretty good. We forced a lot of turnovers, and got some fast-break points off of them.”

Hillsboro struggled to score in the third quarter until Paige Proffitt broke the ice with a basket in the lane at the 4:36 mark for a 30-22 lead. With Lyons’ Bailey Hollinger heating up from behind the arc, the Lions pulled to within 32-28 as the quarter ended.

The Trojans began the final period with a basket and free throw by Sienna Kaufman, followed by a huge three-point basket by Savan­nah Unruh at the 5:18 mark for a 38-28 lead. Both teams struggled to score down the stretch, securing Hillsboro’s victory.

The Trojans got a boost on offense with Unruh’s team-leading nine points, plus eight points from Linnens. Abby Sechrist, Sienna Kaufman and Merrell each chipped in seven points.

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