Courtney Weber scored only one basket in Friday?s game against Smoky Valley. But it could not have come at a sweeter moment.
The junior starter hit a 10-foot jumper at the buzzer to give Hillsboro a 41-39 win over the Vikings in Lindsborg and keep the Trojans in sole possession of first place by a half-game in the Central Kansas League at 5-1.
Coach Nathan Hiebert said the winning basket was not drawn up that way as the Trojans came out of a timeout with 11.5 seconds left and the ball at the Viking baseline.
?We did a lot of improvising,? he said. ?Callie (Serene) made the pass to Addie (Lackey) and Addie made the right pass. Courtney was where we were asking her to be. She spotted up and made a nice shot.?
Hillsboro led the Vikings from the first basket of the night, made by Krista Reimer, until a three-pointer by Smoky?s Taryn Scott with 3:52 left in the final quarter vaulted the Vikings into the lead at 33-31.
The Trojans had led 8-4 after one quarter, 16-13 at halftime and 29-26 after three quarters.
Serene followed Scott?s three-pointer 20 seconds later with a three of her own. But 18 seconds after that, a three by Rachel Norberg put the Vikings ahead again, 36-34.
After a free throw bumped the lead to three points, Allie Faul nailed a huge three at the 1:46 mark to tie the game at 37.
The tie remained in tact until Lackey scored on a putback with 36 seconds left in regulation. But Smoky?s Kimi Lindshield, a stocky 6-foot-1, scored her third basket of the quarter to tie the game at 39 with 12 seconds left.
?We knew coming in we were going to be outsized,? Hiebert said. ?If you?re going to play a physical post player, you?ve got to win with quickness. But we just leaned on them, we watched them miss and then they?d get an easy score. I was very disappointed in that, and in our back-side help.?
Lackey finished with a team-high 13 points, tying Lindshield for game honors. As a team, Hillsboro shot 38 percent (18-48) from the field while Smoky Valley shot 61 percent but put up 20 fewer attempts, thanks to a Trojan defense that contributed to 22 Viking turnovers.
Sterling?Hillsboro girls used balanced scoring and another strong defensive effort Thursday to dismantle Sterling, 51-28, in a game delayed two days by snow.
The Trojans led by a modest 13-7 margin after one quarter, but took firm control with an 18-5 second period.
Nine Trojans contributed points to the team?s 31-12 halftime lead, but no one player had more than four.
Hillsboro hit a bumpy patch in the last half of the third quarter, managing only three points?a traditional three-point play by Tena Loewen?while turning the ball over six times. Even so, HHS outscored the Black Bears 10-7 for a 41-19 lead heading into the final period.
Unanswered baskets by Addie Lackey, Krista Reimer, Elise Heyen and Amy Bartel extended the lead to 30 points, triggering the continuous-clock rule with 4:20 to play.
Sterling (0-4, 7-7) finished with a 9-2 surge to narrow the margin to 23 points at the end.
Loewen led HHS with seven points, but 12 girls made it into the scoring column. Seven contributed four or more points.
Coach Nathan Hiebert said he was pleased with his team?s intensity and hustle, something he had been emphasizing this week.
?These past two games, they?re fighting for things, they?re getting loose balls, they?re getting on the floor,? he said. ?I was proud of the girls because some of those balls we wouldn?t have had before because we weren?t getting down on the floor. We had a ton of held balls tonight.?
Coming?The Trojans (5-1, 14-3) can claim at least a tie for the Central Kansas League title by winning their three remaining games. This week, the Trojans will have home-court advantage when they play Halstead (0-6, 1-16) and Kingman (2-3, 4-12) at Brown Gymnasium. They will complete the regular season next Tuesday with a big game at Haven (3-2, 13-3).