One unfocused quarter turned the tide against the Hillsboro girls as they settled for sixth place at this year?s Trojan Classic with a 63-43 loss to Holcomb Satur?day in Brown Gymna?sium.
The loss gave the Trojans a 1-2 record in the tournament and a 4-8 mark for the year. The Longhorns finished 2-1 and 6-6.
The seventh-seeded Trojans played the fourth-seeded Longhorns to a standoff in the opening quarter.
Alex Ratzlaff provided seven points for Hillsboro, but it was a driving layup by Tara Proffitt in the final second that tied the game at 11-11 as the quarter ended.
The second quarter proved to be the turning point. Holcomb launched a 16-4 run over the first 4 minutes to take control. As the half ended, the fast-paced Longhorns finished a 27-14 quarter to lead 38-25 at intermission.
?We relaxed?and that makes it tough,? coach Nathan Hiebert said about his team. ?A lot of our girls are used to taking a break between everything. If they score, or if we don?t score, we can?t relax.
?I?d say almost 70 percent of Holcomb?s buckets were in transition.?
The Longhorns? 9-3 start to the third quarter didn?t help either. By the time Ratz?laff broke the run with a layup, the score was 47-30. The spread remained the same as the quarter ended, 51-34.
To their credit, the Trojans didn?t go down without one last rally in the final quarter. Callie Linnens provided a traditional three-point play followed by a rebound and put-back to get the Trojans started. Baskets by Ratzlaff and Proffitt whittled the lead to 11 at the 4:19 mark.
But Ratzlaff exited the game at the 3:20 mark after tweaking her ankle, and the Trojans did not score the rest of the way.
Ratzlaff, who finished with 23 points, was the only Trojan to reach double figures and one of only five girls who contributed points.
Holcomb was led by Jor?dan Jarnagin?s 19 points, but Taylor Denison added 17, Eboni Sapien 12 and Court?ney Wren 10.
HHS 60, Sunrise Acad. 24
Consolation semifinals, Friday
Hillsboro used its talent advantage to roll past Sun?rise Christian Academy in the consolation semifinal played Friday afternoon at Tabor College.
Sunrise struck first with a three-pointer less than a minute into the game, but the Buffaloes didn?t score the rest of the quarter.
Mean?while, Alex Ratzlaff chipped in nine points within the first 5:30?mostly off of the Trojan pressure that prompted nine Buffalo turnovers and 1-for-6 shooting for the quarter.
After Hillsboro?s Mesa Merrell hit a three-pointer and Rebecca Kaufman added a two in the final 40 seconds, HHS enjoyed a 16-3 lead at the first break.
?(Sunrise) hit that first three, and I wondered how we would respond,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?But the girls did a really nice job with execution (on offense) and the defense?we caused a lot turnovers.?
The story line continued in the second quarter. Within the first 1:05, Callie Linnens added a couple of baskets in the paint off nice assists from Allison Weber.
The half ended with a 36-9 Hillsboro advantage. Six Trojans contributed points; Ratzlaff ended the first half with 14. With good ball movement, the Trojans made 14 of 27 shots in the first half.
SCA managed only three baskets in 17 shots and committed 12 turnovers.
Ratzlaff scored five points in the first 1:32 of the second half to give her 19 for the game?and an early exit, as Hiebert rested the junior the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, Tara Proffitt hit a three, Weber added a put-back and Abby Sechrist made two baskets in the paint to carry Hillsboro to a 50-17 lead through three quarters. The entire fourth quarter was played with a running clock.
?I was really pleased,? Hiebert said of his team?s performance. ?We executed a lot of great things. We rebounded really well, and I don?t think it was because (Sunrise) didn?t rebound. At times we had five girls boxed out?that?s something we?ve struggled to do.
?At halftime we were up 22-9 in (rebounds)?it makes a difference.?
Republic Co. 41, HHS 27
First round, Tuesday
The Trojans started strong against the No. 2 seeded Buffaloes, but faded as the game went along.
Hillsboro trailed 3-0 after the first four minutes, but scored some easy transition baskets off steals to lead 10-7 as the quarter ended.
When Rebecca Kaufman scored 28 seconds into the second quarter, Hillsboro led 12-9. But the Trojans didn?t score again until Brook?lyn Wiens made a 16-foot basket with 1:07 left. Hills?boro found itself on the short end of an 18-14 score at intermission.
The Trojans outscored the Buffaloes 7-4 to start the third quarter, but Republic County reeled off seven unanswered points to take a 29-21 lead at the final break.
A 2-for-8 shooting performance by Hillsboro in the fourth quarter enabled the Buffaloes to enlarge the final margin to 14 points.
Key to the game was the Buffaloes? defense, which limited Alex Ratzlaff to a season-low 10 points?about half of her average output. Marah Franz came through with a career-high seven points, but her other teammates managed only 10 points.
Kendsey Johnson kicked in 20 points and Casey Benyshek 10 to pace Repub?lic County.
The two teams were about even in shooting percentage (mid-30s), but Hillsboro managed only 15 rebounds to Republic County?s 34.
?Strength is a big issue for us?we?re not very strong, and it affects our ball-handling and rebounding,? coach Nathan Hiebert said.
?It?s hard to change strength at mid-season, but we can change mentality. You?ve got to act like you?re strong and go after things. Tonight, in the second half, we didn?t go after much. It wasn?t just one girl, it was a lot of girls.?
Hiebert said he was disappointed his team didn?t revisit the things that made them successful in the first quarter, such as finding the open player in the lane.
?Offensively, we stopped looking to attack, and then we pass, pass, pass and then all of a sudden we settle for an OK shot rather than attack and get into the paint early.?
Coming?Hillsboro was scheduled to travel to Marion Tuesday to take on the Warriors for the only game this week. Same night results will be available at hillsborofreepress.com or by calling the Free Line at 947-3363.