Hillsboro girls snap losing streak

Marah Franz drives toward the basket during the second quarter against Larned Friday. Hillsboro won the game, 34-27, snapping a five-game losing streak. Phyllis Richert Photo
Marah Franz drives toward the basket during the second quarter against Larned Friday. Hillsboro won the game, 34-27, snapping a five-game losing streak. Phyllis Richert Photo
Fueled by Alex Ratzlaff?s 19 points, the Hillsboro girls snapped a five-game losing streak with a 34-27 win over Larned in a Central Kansas League matchup Friday at Brown Gymnasium.

The game wasn?t pretty, but the victory was beautiful for the Trojans, who improved to 2-5 overall and 1-1 in the CKL despite 27 percent shooting from the floor.

Larned dropped to 1-7 and 0-2, thanks in large part to 33 turnovers for the game.

Ratzlaff scored all eight of her team?s points in the opening quarter, but just as important were the 10 turnovers Hillsboro forced en route to an 8-8 tie.

Rebecca Kaufman scored Hillsboro?s first basket of the second quarter at the 5:37 mark. The Trojans didn?t score again until Ratzlaff hit the first of back-to-back three-pointers with 1:30 left in the half. The late spurt put Hillsboro on top at intermission, 17-14.

Larned scored the first basket of the second half, then turned the ball over on its next 10 possessions. Hills?boro was able to push the lead to 24-16.

After a Larned basket and three more turnovers, the Trojans got a pair of free throws by Ratzlaff and a basket by Darcy Heinrichs in the final minute to push the lead to 28-18 as the third quarter ended.

?The last minute and a half of the second quarter, and then the third quarter, we kind of relaxed and looked for the things we always ask them to look for,? coach Nathan Hiebert said. ?When we worked together, things really worked well. I thought our defense in the third quarter really looked great.?

With Larned unable to mount a serious challenge in the final quarter, the Trojans tasted victory for the first time since opening night, Dec. 5.

?I?m hoping it builds some confidence,? Hiebert said of the win. ?The hard part is that it didn?t feel like a game where we were fully clicking.?

Hillsboro is now 2-5 overall and 1-1 in the CKL while the visitors drop to 1-7 and 0-2.

Lyons? A terrific start and a solid first half wasn?t enough for Hillsboro to hold off state-ranked Lyons in their rematch Tuesday at Brown Gymnasium. The 6-1 Lions prevailed, 65-46.

The Trojans (1-5) came off their holiday hiatus with a vengeance, scoring 20 points in the first quarter for a 20-17 lead at the break. Tara Proffitt and Alex Ratz?laff each tossed in two three-pointers as the Trojans made six of their first 10 shots from the floor.

?We?ve started sluggish in a lot of games, like ?I hope we can do this,? but we had a really good week of practice and I thought we came out really strong,? coach Nathan Hiebert said.

?Our girls were shooting with confidence, they had their feet set and they were aggressive. I was really, really pleased with that. That quarter was one of the better quarters we?ve played all season.?

Hillsboro?s shooting cooled in the second quarter. The Trojans went scoreless from the field until Ratzlaff scored with 2:50 left in the half, trimming Lyons? lead to 30-26.

Baskets by Ratzlaff and Abby Sechrist, plus two free throws by Rebecca Kaufman, pulled Hillsboro to within 33-32 with 1:05 left. Lyons point guard Brenna McClure scored with 27 seconds left to give the Lions a 35-32 lead at intermission.

As was true in their season-opener against Lyons, one poor quarter turned the tide against the Trojans. In the first game, it was a scoreless fourth quarter, opening the door to a 20-point loss.

On this night, it was the third quarter. Hillsboro committed five turnovers within the first three minutes, enabling Lyons to push the lead to 39-32.

The Trojans didn?t make a field goal until Sechrist scored at the 1:57 mark to pull Hills?boro to within 44-35. But McClure nailed a three, then made one of two free throws to push Lyons? lead to 48-38 by the end of the period. Lyons slowly extended its lead during the fourth quarter to nail down the 19-point win.

Hillsboro shot 33.3 percent from the field for the game, but only 25 percent in the second half. Ratzlaff led Hillsboro with 17 points while Proffitt added a career-high 10. McClure led Lyons with 19.

Beyond shooting, turn?overs proved to be a nemesis for the Trojans. Hillsboro committed a season-high 26 to Lyons? 17.

Coming?Hillsboro (2-5) was scheduled to play at Smoky Valley (2-4) Tuesday, then will travel Friday to Halstead to face the (1-7) Dragons.